Three more cities in Ohio voted in favor of measures to decriminalize marijuana possession on Tuesday, while three other communities rejected similar cannabis ballot items.
Voters in Bremen, Nelsonville and Northwood each approved the local initiatives, which reduce the penalty for low-level possession from a misdemeanor punishably by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine to the “lowest penalty allowed by state law,” with no fine. Adena, Amherst and Wren voted down cannabis measures.
Here’s the language that appeared on the ballots in each of the Ohio municipalities.
REJECTED—Adena: Shall the Village of Adena adopt The Sensible Marihuana Ordinance, which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by State Law be adopted?
REJECTED—Amherst: Shall the proposed ordinance (titled the “Sensible Marihuana Ordinance”) which lowers the penalty for Misdemeanor Marijuana Offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by state law be adopted?
PASSED—Bremen: “Shall the Village of Bremen adopt the sensible marihuana ordinance, which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by State Law?”
PASSED—Nelsonville: Shall the City of Nelsonville adopt the Nelsonville Cannabis Ordinance, which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to lowest penalty allowed by the state law?
PASSED—Northwood: Shall the City of Northwood adopt the sensible marihuana ordinance, which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by State Law?
REJECTED—Wren: Shall the proposed Sensible Marihuana Ordinance, which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by State law be adopted?
The three cities that approved the measures are the latest in Ohio to join a growing number of jurisdictions that have taken cannabis reform into their own hands. Last year, decriminalization appeared on the ballot in six cities, and five of those were approved, including in the state’s third largest city, Dayton.
The Cincinnati City Council passed a decriminalization measure for the city of more than 300,000 residents over the summer. The state capital, Columbus, also saw a similar reform measure advance through the City Council in July.
A member of Cleveland’s City Council introduced decriminalization legislation earlier this year, but it hasn’t been acted on beyond receiving a first reading.
Local reform efforts have also picked up outside of Ohio. In Wisconsin, voters in three jurisdictions approved nonbinding resolutions in April, expressing support for marijuana legalization for medical or recreational purposes. That followed votes in favor of similar cannabis measures in 16 counties last year. Last week, Wisconsin lawmakers filed legislation to decriminalize cannabis possession.
This story was updated to note that an additional marijuana ballot measure was approved.
Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.