… 40 years after state did so
UPDATE: The Granville Village Council voted 6-0 tonight to stop mandatory driver’s license suspensions for marijuana paraphernalia offenses.
The Council also introduced an ordinance to decriminalize marijuana possession, making it consistent with state law. But the discussion was generally hostile to decriminalization. Village prosecutor Mike King, who wrote the ordinance but doesn’t like it, raised the old canard about how today’s marijuana is supposedly different than marijuana of years past (when Council members were presumably smoking it). A liberal college town continues to discuss marijuana as if it’s a 5th grade D.A.R.E. class circa 1986.
The Granville Village Council will introduce an ordinance tonight to reduce marijuana possession from a third degree misdemeanor to a minor misdemeanor, a change that will eliminate the creation of a criminal record.
A public hearing on the marijuana decriminalization ordinance will be held Wednesday, December 3 and vote is likely that same day.
Granville, a liberal and affluent college town, currently has one of the state’s harshest marijuana laws.
Ohio decriminalized marijuana possession in the 1970s. However, Granville exercised its home rule authority to punish pot possession harsher than the state and nearly every other Ohio municipality.
The Village staff had moved in August to toughen Granville’s marijuana laws even further. The staff proposed stripping legal protection of medical marijuana patients from local law (which the Council did) and starting a mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension for pot possession, even offenses unrelated to driving (which the Council rejected).
However, the staff refused to provide Council with legal language that the Council could use to lower the offense level — to decriminalize pot possession consistent with state law.
The editor of this blog advocated this change at most recent Council meetings during public comment, criticizing the Council for being out of step with state law, public opinion and national trends, and harming the job and education prospects of people who did not deserve it.
“The decriminalization proposal is a very positive change if it’s approved,” says Dennis Cauchon, editor of marijuana43023.org and a Granville resident. “It will especially benefit low-income people from Newark, who most marijuana enforcement in Granville is used against.”
Separately and positively, the Village Council will vote tonight on ending a mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension for possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
Granville Village Council, its law director/prosecutor and police had misunderstood the Village law and been incorrectly charging people under the wrong section of the law and applying the wrong penalty.
The law director conceded the error last month, dropped two pending marijuana paraphernalia charges and submitted a corrected ordinance to the Council to consider. That will be voted on tonight. Continue reading Granville to consider decriminalizing marijuana …