Cleveland City Council committee advances legislation that would decriminalize certain marijuana possession offenses

Cleveland city council discussing reducing penalties for marijuana

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland City Council’s Safety Committee met Wednesday to discuss a proposal that would lessen the penalties for specific marijuana possession offenses.

Introduced in July 2019, Ordinance No. 902-2019 would eliminate fines and prison time for marijuana possession offenses of up to 200 grams.

Under Cleveland’s current ordinance, possession of less than 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor and a finable offense. Possession between 100 and 200 grams could warrant jail time.

An amendment added to the ordinance will no longer require a person convicted of misdemeanor possession to report the charge on employment and license applications.

Supporters of the legislation hope that the legislation would avoid unnecessary jail incarcerations, eliminate the burden of fines, and balance the enforcement of drug charges against minorities

Punishment for felonious marijuana possession offenses would not change.

Several other Ohio cities, including Cincinnati and Columbus, have already applied similar ordinances that lower the penalties for misdemeanor marijuana crimes.

The proposed ordinance will next likely be discussed during a finance committee hearing on Jan. 27.

If it advances, the Cleveland City Council would vote on the proposal at a later date.

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