Dayton Residents To Vote On Fine-Free Marijuana Decriminalization
Cost for marijuana possession in Dayton?
On November 6, 2018, Dayton residents will get a chance to change Ohio history by decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana throughout Dayton, reducing the current fine of $150 to zero. Yes, you read that right. Zero!
"What this [measure] will do is tell the commission that you want the minor misdemeanor possession charges in the city of Dayton to be reduced to a zero dollar fine," Martin Gehres, Dayton's Assistant City Attorney, told WDTN.
This measure does not mean that marijuana would be legal in Dayton, however. Legalization also means regulation of the industry, and certain protections for marijuana cultivators, dispensaries and other associated businesses related to cannabis. So while Dayton residents caught with small amounts of marijuana (100 grams or less) will not receive a fine for possession (residents would seemingly still get a ticket), illegal growers and traffickers in Dayton would be subject to the usual state and federal criminal penalties.
What is Decriminalization?
Decriminalization of cannabis means that while the government still views marijuana as a threat, they do not treat possession as criminal behavior, but rather a civil infraction, not unlike someone who jaywalks or runs a red light. Decriminalized behavior may warrant a ticket or a fine, but does not scar your record in the same way as a federal crime or felony.
Unlike some states, Indiana for example, which hold harsh penalties for those caught with even a tiny bit of reefer, Ohio does currently enjoy some marijuana decriminalization laws. Someone caught with small amounts of cannabis are generally fined a fee of around $150, depending on the amount of weed you may have, and whether you have any associated paraphernalia, which can often carry an even greater fine than the cannabis itself (upwards of $500-1000).
What does Dayton's decriminalization effort mean for the rest of Ohio?
Dayton-area residents will get to enjoy even looser penalties for possessing marijuana if this measure is passed. This does not mean, however, that the rest of the state of Ohio is also decriminalized in the same way. Rather, this measure applies to Dayton only. Ohio will remain a decriminalized state, but other cities will still carry a fine for possession. If the measure passes, though, it is likely we will see similar measures pop up in cities throughout the Buckeye State.
Thanks to HB523, which established the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, medical marijuana is legal throughout the entire state. In order to obtain a medical marijuana Ohio card, patients must have one of the 21 approved medical conditions. Once a patient determines they have one of these conditions, they obtain their medical records documenting the ailment and set an appointment with a doctor certified by the state to recommend marijuana. From there, this doctor will determine if you qualify for mmj. If you do, they write a recommendation. This letter is sent to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, who issues the patient an official Ohio medical marijuana card. This card is required by law in order to enter dispensaries, purchase, transport and possess medical marijuana throughout Ohio.
Right now, there does not seem to be any polling on the Dayton decriminalization issue, but if Gallup and Pew Research polling are correct, overall approval or support of full marijuana legalization is at an all-time high, with roughly 62-66% of Americans favoring legal weed. This measure could be a fascinating test for how Ohio will eventually vote if a legalization measure were to make it back on ballot in 2019 or 2020.
For more about Ohio's 2018 election cycle, and to find out which prospective Ohio lawmakers are anti-pot and who supports legal weed, click here to read our ongoing election series.
In the meantime, if you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana. Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.