Cinci, Ohio

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Dr. Greenthumb
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Cinci, Ohio

Post by Dr. Greenthumb » Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:47 pm

Cincinnati City Council Passes "Emergency" Recriminalization Ordinance

March 30, 2006 - Cincinnati, OH, USA



Cincinnati, OH: The Cincinnati City Council voted 6-2 yesterday in favor of an "emergency ordinance" recriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses within city limits. The new law takes effect immediately.

Under the ordinance, sponsored by Council Member Cecil Thomas, minor marijuana possession is re-classified as a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Offenders charged under the "emergency ordinance" will be subject to arrest, a $250 fine and up to 30 days in jail. Repeat offenders will face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

By contrast, Ohio state law defines possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana as a minor misdemeanor offense, punishable by a $100 citation and no arrest or jail time.

Council Member Thomas, a former police officer, argued that the ordinance was "necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, safety and general welfare." However, federal data indicates that marijuana use is no greater, and in many cases, is less prevalent in Cincinnati than in surrounding regions of the state.

During public hearings on the measure, dozens of citizens spoke out against the bill and not one person spoke in favor of it. In a last minute compromise, Council Members did agree to add a "sunset provision" to the ordinance meaning the law would expire after a year unless renewed by the Council.

"For more than three decades, Ohio's state decriminalization law has served as an example for the rest of the nation," NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "It's unfortunate that this unwarranted effort by members of the Cincinnati City Council has overturned this longstanding protection for its citizens."
www.norml.org
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