Cleveland City Council moves closer to changing misdemeanor marijuana laws

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CLEVELAND (WJW)-- A proposed ordinance to lower penalties for misdemeanor marijuana offenses in the city of Cleveland is getting closer to becoming law.

City council’s safety committee discussed the ordinance Wednesday. It will now go to council’s finance meeting.

“Council could vote on this by the end of the month or the first week of February,” said Ward 6 Councilman Blaine Griffin, who proposed the ordinance.

The ordinance calls for eliminating all fines and jail time for people who are found in possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana.

Currently, people possessing between 100 and 200 grams of marijuana can face up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, but they are rarely sent to jail. People possessing less than 100 grams of the drug are guilty of a minor misdemeanor and can face a $150 fine.

Griffin said he proposed the measure to help reduce social costs, including disqualification for college grants and to reduce uneven enforcement against minorities.

“I think it’s time we did this as a city,” Griffin told FOX 8.

Several other Ohio cities, including Cincinnati and Columbus, have enacted similar ordinances.

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