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File #: 2032-2019    Version:
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
File created: 7/12/2019 In control: Rules & Reference Committee
On agenda: 7/22/2019 Final action: 7/25/2019
Title: To enact new sections 2329.15 and 2329.16 in the Columbus City Codes, establishing offenses and criminal penalties concerning misdemeanor possession of marihuana and associated paraphernalia in the City of Columbus.
Sponsors: Shannon G. Hardin, Shayla Favor
Explanation

BACKGROUND

The purpose of this ordinance is to enact new sections 2329.15 and 2329.16 in the Columbus City Codes, establishing offenses and criminal penalties for the possession of marihuana and associated paraphernalia in the City of Columbus. These provisions in the General Offenses Code (Title 23) will mirror the language for the offenses of possession in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC), with the main exception of the criminal penalties associated with the offenses.

For the past year, Columbus City Council has researched this issue and performed outreach to many external stakeholders on the issue of marihuana possession and its associated effect on criminal justice, especially on people of color and younger residents. Given the racial inequities that exist with enforcement of marihuana laws locally and nationwide, the recent legalization of medical marihuana in the State of Ohio, and the number of recent ballot initiatives and ordinances liberalizing marihuana laws in municipalities such as Toledo, Dayton, and Cincinnati, Council has determined that the potential penalties for misdemeanor marijuana possession should be lowered from the standard set in the ORC. This ordinance has three central components:

· Introducing possession of marihuana and associated paraphernalia as a criminal offense in the Columbus City Codes, so as to alter the potential penalties from the ORC
· Establishing the following penalties for possession of marihuana and paraphernalia as follows:
o Marihuana possession under one hundred (100) grams; paraphernalia - Minor misdemeanor with a fine not exceeding ten dollars ($10.00)
o Marihuana possession at one hundred (100) or above but less than two hundred (200) grams - Minor misdemeanor with a fine not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25.00)
· Mirroring state language for minor misdemeanors stating that offenders do not have to report a violation of these offenses as a criminal record in response to inquiries from potential empl...

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