Ohio: Toledo Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Municipal Depenalization Measure

By a margin of over 2 to 1, voters in Toledo, Ohio yesterday approved a municipal ballot measure removing criminal and civil penalties associated with minor marijuana possession offenses. The vote took place during a special city election.

Ballot Issue 1, the “Sensible Marijuana Ordinance,” amends the city’s municipal code to eliminate the threat of jail or fines for those found within city limits to be in the possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana. The measure also prohibits the city from suspending one’s license as a punishment for violating marijuana possession laws.

Under Ohio law, any conviction for possession of a controlled substance is subject to driver’s license revocation for no less than 6 months and no more than 5 years.

A summary of the ordinance is available here.

Despite the measure’s popularity, both the city’s mayor and police chief have indicated their intent to charge minor marijuana offenders under the Ohio Revised Code rather than under the local ordinance. State law classifies classifies the possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis as a minor criminal misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $150. Marijuana possession offenses involving more than 100 grams but less than 200 grams are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

Toledo is the fourth largest city in Ohio.

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