City council unanimously approves marijuana ordinance

City council unanimously approves marijuana ordinance

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - City council unanimously voted Wednesday to approve an ordinance that will give new power to judges when it comes to misdemeanor marijuana charges.

The ordinance would expunge low-level marijuana crimes from records of Cincinnati residents. Councilmember Charlie Winburn says this could help residents get jobs, housing and education that they otherwise would not qualify for.

"I want to thank Mayor John Cranley and my Cincinnati Council colleagues for passing a new marijuana expungment law that will now help thousands of citizens who have paid their debt to society to petition a Cincinnnati Municipal Court judge to expunge or seal their record under this new council law," Winburn said.

Those in favor of the ordinance say it comes as cities and states across the nation are relaxing their marijuana laws.

Opponents of the ordinance say the judge's ruling should follow the laws of the state which do not allow misdemeanor records to be expunged. 

"The trend in what we're seeing across the country is that marijuana is being treated completely differently and it's kind of sweeping across the United States of America," said Councilmember Chris Smitherman. "I think the context of what was taking place in 2006 is very different that what's happening in 2014.

Winburn says about 10,000 Cincinnati residents received unnecessary criminal charges from a marijuana law that was created in 2006 that doubled the marijuana penalties already set in place by the state of Ohio.

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