The city council in Columbus, Ohio is considering cannabis policy reforms that would significantly reduce the penalties imposed for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The council has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed city ordinance to enact the reforms for Thursday evening.
Under the proposed ordinance, possession of up to 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of marijuana would be subject to a fine of up to $10. Those caught possessing between 100 and 200 grams (approximately seven ounces) of cannabis could be fined up to $25. Possession of more than 200 grams would still be a felony.
The fine for possession of marijuana paraphernalia would be reduced to $10. The ordinance would also increase funding to help those with previous convictions for marijuana possession offenses have their criminal records sealed.
The fines for cannabis possession would not apply to “any person who obtained the marihuana pursuant to a lawful prescription issued by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs,” according to the ordinance.
Punishments More Severe Under State Law
Under Ohio state law, possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis can be punished with a fine of up to $150 while possessing 100 to 200 grams