Cincinnati’s new marijuana law decriminalizing up to 100 grams goes into effect

Marijuana decriminalization in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - A new ordinance decriminalizing up to 100 grams of marijuana for recreational use in the city of Cincinnati goes into effect Friday.

City Council passed the measure last month.

Though it is no longer a criminal offense to possess or use small amounts of the drug, you still aren’t supposed to use it in public.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is also reminding people not to bring marijuana into any county buildings like the courthouse or Justice Center. They say it will be confiscated and you could be charged.

On Wednesday, a city spokesman released this statement in response to questions about how it will work:

“Ordinance 175-2019 does not legalize the possession or use of marijuana. It does, however, eliminate the financial punishment associated with the possession and non-public use of less than 100 grams of marijuana. The ordinance allows City law enforcement to cite individuals under a new City law which carries no criminal fine, CMC Sec. 910-23, rather than under the State code. Also, an offense cited under this section is not required by the City to be reported as a criminal conviction. Ordinance 175-2019 does not have any broader application.”

New marijuana law takes effect

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman and Council Member Jeff Pastor initiated the legislation. They voted for it, along with Council Members Chris Seelbach, Wendell Young and Greg Landsman.

“This is critical legislation in order to free black men like me who are facing the over criminalization of small amounts of marijuana in the city of Cincinnati,” Smitherman said.

Council Members Amy Murray, David Mann and Tamaya Dennard voted no.

Mann said 100 grams is too much to decriminalize. He proposed an age limit of 18 and lowering the pot amount to 28 grams.

Dennard said she would not vote to decriminalize marijuana until she knew records of previous users would be expunged.

State Attorney General Dave Yost criticized the ordinance as “political theater.”

“A city ordinance cannot trump state law. This is political theater - symbolic. Possession of marijuana is not an arrestable offense even under state law and unless you possess more than 100 grams - a month’s supply.”

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