Hamilton County Court Reduces Fine For Small Marijuana Possession

Fines for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Hamilton County, which includes most of downtown Cincinnati, were lowered this week in an attempt to lesson court costs and paperwork.
The new guidelines adopted by the Hamilton Country Municipal Court will take effect on March 1, 2000. The fine for possession of less than 3 and a half ounces of marijuana will be reduced from $149 to $100 if the offender pays the fine within 168 hours. The penalty for minor marijuana possession will increase to $175 if the defendant waits to pay the fine, chooses to contest the charges in court and loses, or ignores the penalty and a warrant is issued for an arrest.
The courts are hoping that people fined for a minor marijuana offense will simply pay the fine, like a parking ticket, instead of tying up the courts by contesting the charges or asking for an extension. Tony Upton, an assistant court administrator, called the new guidelines an “[E]ffort to clean the system up, to get people to comply.”
“While NORML strongly believes that responsible adult marijuana use should not be subject to an arrest and fine, the new policy in Hamilton County is an excellent indicator that local governments can craft pragmatic and rational marijuana laws,” said Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director. “Hamilton County joins Pittsburgh, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Madison and numerous other local jurisdictions in the U.S. that significantly deviate from the federal government’s misguided war on marijuana.”
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director at (202) 483-8751.