The Cincinnati City Council voted (5-3) on June 12 to decriminalize the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana (3.5 ounces). The new law takes effect in 30 days.
Several weeks of intense debates led up to the vote to pass the law, WLWT 5 News reports. Some of the councilmembers were concerned about the amount to decriminalize. Others were worried about what impact the new law would have on prosecutions.
Even though possession of up to 100 grams will be decriminalized, citations can still be issued. There will be a fine, but no criminal charges will be filed as long as possession is the only charge. Simple citations for possession will not appear on criminal records.
Vice Mayor Chris Smitherman said, “I would say that since we’ve been debating this each week a hundred African American men have been impacted by this law. We’ve got to stop it. We’ve got to stop it now.”
Talks about expunging records for previous possession convictions are taking place and could happen in the near future.
Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard noted, “We can’t worry about expungement after the fact. The effort to decriminalize should have gone hand in hand with the effort to expunge.”