Four restaurant workers found smoking pot

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From the Newark Advocate:

GRANVILLE – Four people were charged with marijuana-related offenses late Thursday night after a Granville police officer found them with marijuana and a marijuana pipe in the kitchen of a downtown restaurant.

A woman, 32, with a Newark address was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance, and two men with Granville addresses, ages 33 and 34, and a Newark man, 23, were charged with possession of a controlled substance. All charges are minor misdemeanors. (Emphasis added.)

Granville decriminalizes marijuana possession

The Granville Village Council voted 7-0 Wednesday night (Dec. 3, 2014) to decriminalize marijuana. The change makes possession of up to 100 grams a minor misdemeanor, similar to a traffic ticket and consistent with state law.

melissa hartfield
Mayor Melissa Hartfield

The Village had previously used home rule authority to punish marijuana possession as a third degree misdemeanor, subject to jail time. This created a permanent criminal record that harmed opportunities for obtaining employment, student aid and professional licenses.

connie barsky
Vice Mayor Connie Barsky

Granville Village had earlier stopped automatically suspending driver’s licenses for possession offenses unrelated to driving.

Speaking in favor of decriminalization the change at the Council meeting were:
Continue reading Granville decriminalizes marijuana possession

THC and cancer

For the scientifically minded, this Spanish molecular biologist gives an excellent technical explanation of why she’s researching THC as a cancer treatment.

Too few people realize that cancer researchers in Israel identified THC as the primary active ingredient in marijuana. They were researching marijuana’s therapeutic effect on tumors  in 1964. The discoverer — much-heralded chemist Raphael Mechoulam, a Holocaust survivor —  is still active at age 84 at Hebrew University. Israel remains a medical marijuana research powerhouse to this day.

Few Ohioans realize that the Buckeye State was a medical marijuana powerhouse in the 19th century. In 1860, the Ohio State Medical Society published the nation’s first comprehensive review of marijuana’s medical uses.

It’s an interesting example of how knowledge tracks economic vibrancy, and ignorance tracks economic decline.

Granville to consider decriminalizing marijuana …

marijuana leaf… 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 …

Should Granville expunge marijuana convictions?

Cincinnati corrects its marijuana mistake

Council Member Charlie Winburn
Cincinnati reformer Charlie Winburn

The Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously last week to support expunging the criminal records of all marijuana offenders charged from 2006 and 20l1 when the city punished marijuana possession as a fourth degree misdemeanor.

Republican City Councilman Charlie Winburn, a minister, led the change. It will help as many as 10,000 people charged during that time. The ordinance awaits the mayor’s signature.

(Read the ordinance here. )

Cincinnati made marijuana possession a fourth degree misdemeanor in 2006 as part of an ill-conceived effort to get tough on crime and confiscate guns. The policy was quickly seen as a disaster. In 2011, Cincinnati restored marijuana offenses to “minor misdemeanor” status, which  doesn’t create a criminal record and matches state law.

The city reversed itself because it found the tougher law was used almost entirely against African Americans and diverted police away from serious crime. It also failed to increase the confiscation of guns, its original purpose. Continue reading Should Granville expunge marijuana convictions?

What would you do?

A case of “unfortunate guilt” in Granville

Sunday polo in Granville
Sunday polo in Granville

My wealthy town of 5,600 has virtually no crime but lots of money. Our 22 police officers spend considerable time ticketing and arresting poor and working class people driving by on a  state highway on the edge of town.

Every Friday morning, low-income residents from elsewhere visit my rich town — Granville, Ohio — to be judged in Mayor’s Court.

This legally simple but morally complex case caught my attention. Here are the facts.

Continue reading What would you do?

Letter to editor in The New York Times

nytDennis Cauchon, who edits marijuana43023.org, has a letter to the editor on drug policy published in the Sunday New York Times today. http://nyti.ms/XTL0GP

To the Editor:

“The Way to Beat Poverty” mentions almost casually that the mother of a troubled young girl named Jessica “was away in prison for drug-related offenses.”

Jessica is a drug war orphan. And she is not alone. The Pew Charitable Trusts says 2.7 million children under 18 have a parent in prison — 1.8 percent of white children, 11.4 percent of black children.

The drug war is ripping apart mothers from daughters, fathers from sons, families as a whole and entire neighborhoods in minority communities. Science cannot cure Jessica of being orphaned, because it is human error, not biology, that is the primary cause of injury to Jessica’s young brain and heart.

Instead of imprisoning mothers like Jessica’s for drug offenses, we need to help them be mothers, get a job, pack a lunch, attend a third-grade play and cry at high school graduation.

DENNIS CAUCHON
Editor, The Clemency Report 
Granville, Ohio

A must-see medical marijuana video

Don't miss this amazing "Grease" parody for "Yes on 2," the campaign for Florida's medical marijuana amendment on the ballot in November. 

Pure talent. Pure creativity. If only Ohio had such verve!

Polls show 80% of Florida voters support the Amendment 2. 

Ohioans support medical marijuana 87% to 11%, but challenging ballot access rules make it hard for even energetic efforts, such as the recent Ohio Rights Group campaign, to get before voters without $2 million+ for signature gathering alone. 

Ohio may end driver’s license suspension for pot possession

Ohio is one of only 16 states that still suspends driver's licenses for drug possession. Ohio's Republican legislature is planning to opt out of this antiquated 1992 federal mandate. Times are changing. Read details at http://bit.ly/1Aw2B4c

Granville resident Dennis Cauchon, founder of www.marijuana43023.org, wrote the story, created the map and edits the web site, www.clemencyreport.org, where it appears.

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