Cincinnati City Council Agrees To Suspend Municipal Marijuana Recriminalization Ordinance

Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati city council members have agreed to a 2011 fiscal budget plan that repeals the city’s four-year-old marijuana recriminalization law, The Cincinnati Enquirer has reported.

Under Ohio state law, the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana (approximately three ounces) is classified as a ‘minor misdemeanor’ punishable by a $150 fine and no criminal record. In 2006, Cincinnati council members enacted a separate, more stringent citywide marijuana ordinance making minor marijuana possession offenses punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $250 fine, and a criminal record. According to statistics published online by the group Prioritize Cincinnati, implementation of the local ordinance increased municipal marijuana law enforcement costs by $181,000, but was not associated with a reduction in overall criminal activity.

By repealing the ordinance, local police and prosecutors will once again have to apply the state law to defendants found to be in possession of marijuana within the city limits.

Council members’ decision to suspend the law is one of several cost-cutting measures enacted in the new budget.