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Pot decriminalization issue on the ballot in Adena

ADENA — Residents will get a chance to decriminalize marijuana within village limits while at the polls on Nov. 5.

The Sensible Movement Coalition is behind the proposed ordinance. If passed, the ordinance will reduce the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana charges to the lowest allowed by the state. The group’s motto is “no fines, no time,” and they feel the state is wasting time and money prosecuting those found in posession of amounts of the drug for personal use. The measure will not affect state law and does not make the drug legal in Ohio for recreational use.

Currently, under Ohio law, the possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor which carries a maximum fine of $150.

Possessing up to 200 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor in Ohio and is punishable by up to a $250 fine and possible 30 days in jail.

The ordinance is not affiliated with the state’s medical marijuana laws.

Over the past three years, 12 municipalities in the state have passed similar ordinances including Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton and Athens.

In July, city council in Columbus voted unanimously to reduce the penalty for possession of up to 100 grams to $10 and for between 100 and 200 grams to $25. Possession of paraphernalia was also reduced to a $10 fine.

Not everyone in the Buckeye State is behind the movement. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has come out publicly against the measures.

“Some people look at marijuana as just some benign drug, and it’s really not,” he said when Cincinnati passed the new law. “We have evidence now that (if) someone is using marijuana and their brain is still developing, which can be up until their twenties, if they use it regularly, they can have a significant, permanent drop in IQ.”

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