Cleveland Decriminalizes Cannabis
Low Level Cannabis Possession Has Been Decriminalized.
Review & Photos by: Randy Shaffer
Ohio is still several years away from legalizing cannabis for recreational use, but Clevelanders can rejoice as the city inches closer to full legalization.
Last week, lawmakers in Cleveland decided to decriminalize low level cannabis possession. This new ordinance would eliminate jail time and the fine for possession of 200 grams of cannabis or less.
We break down what this means for Ohioans, medical marijuana patients, and advocates throughout the Buckeye State.
Ordinance No. 902-2019
Clevelanders can now get caught with just under half a pound of cannabis (200 grams) and only receive a citation for the offense. This means no jail time, no arrest, and no fine. Police will be allowed to confiscate your cannabis under this new ordinance.
Cannabis possession of more than 200 grams of marijuana (pronounced marihuana in the ordinance) would still be considered a felony offense, carrying not only a fine of at least $2500, but also jail time.
This new ordinance spells a major leap toward cannabis legalization in Cleveland, and could begin a ripple effect throughout all the major cities in the Buckeye State.
What Does Decriminalization Mean for Ohio Medical Marijuana Patients
Ohio medical marijuana cardholders should be protected under Ohio’s medical marijuana law. This means that most patients won’t be affected by this new ordinance, and can carry their medical cannabis with some added assurance.
However, police are still known to stop medical cannabis patients, and some patients have been cited in the past. Thankfully, most of these cases are thrown out after the patient can show proof that they are a cardholder.
This new ordinance would add an additional layer of legal protection for current medical marijuana patients, while offering no fine or citation for non-patients or recreational cannabis users.
Will Other Cities Follow
Cannabis in Ohio has actually been decriminalized for quite some time, but most cities will cite offending cannabis users with a small fine, usually no more than $500, but typically around $100. Akron, for example, has decriminalized cannabis. Possession of 100 grams or less results in a $100 fine. But jail time is still a possibility under current state laws, even for cases under 100 grams of marijuana.
To be frank, every major city throughout the Buckeye State should consider adopting Cleveland’s new ordinance. If our lawmakers and our governor won’t consider legalizing cannabis, cities can take those first steps and diffuse any legal issues from low level possession. As always, watch this space for updates.
The educational materials, editorials and reviews found on this site are provided for informational purposes only. We are not responsible for patients or recreational cannabis users and their actions. Please consult your medical marijuana physician or pharmacist about how to properly medicate with medical cannabis, or to learn how to get your Ohio medical marijuana card.
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