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Ohio


Ohio law decriminalizes most marijuana paraphernalia
Old law made it a bigger crime to have a roach or pipe than to have small amounts of marijuana
Story by M.L. SCHULTZE AND SIMON HUSTED


 
Shirley Smith of Cleveland cosponsored the bill to even the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and the paraphernalia associated with it.
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Correction: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect date for the law taking effect. It will be Sept. 28th.

By early fall, Ohio law will start treating people caught with a marijuana pipe the same way it treats those who get most traffic tickets. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports on a little-known aspect of current and coming law.

SMITH on the imbalance

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Senate Bill 337got lots of attention when Gov. Kasich signed last week. In fact, it’s considered a model nationally on how to remove barriers that keep reformed felons getting jobs.

But getting a lot less attention is the part of the bill that decriminalizes possession of most marijuana paraphernalia. It lessens that from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a minor misdemeanor -- along the lines of most traffic tickets and charges like public intoxication.

The bill was sponsored by state senators Shirley Smith of Cleveland and Bill Seitz of Cincinnati, both of whom say it evens out an incongruity that most people don’t know exists in current law.  Sen. Smith:

 “You could get caught with paraphernalia that people use for marijuana, and get more time for the paraphernalia than you would for a small amount of marijuana.”

 That’s because Ohio law has said for years that possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor, which carries no possibility of prison time and a small fine. Someone convicted of a fourth-degree misdemeanor could spend up to 30 days in jail.

The bill goes into effect Sept. 28. 

 


Listener Comments:

One plant growing in back yard. Ten cop cars swat team guns went though my house, found pipe and papers. I have no record.worked and paid taxes all my life. I'm pissed just want to run away! Help!


Posted by: Campy (Hamilton) on August 19, 2013 11:08AM
Technically, yes, there should be a six month license suspension, but these suspensions have a lot of moving parts and a very significant amount of the time the machinery that is the criminal justice system doesn't actually remember to send the suspension to the BMV. In short, maybe. But you may be able to get work and school privileges.


Posted by: Prosecutor (Southern Ohio) on August 17, 2013 8:08AM
I already have been charged with possession of marijuana once and just got pulled over and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia am I looking at getting my license suspended and a fine or jail time I really don't no please help.


Posted by: Kevin (Seven hills) on July 12, 2013 2:07AM
I just got charged with a possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Under this new law, will i still get my license suspended???


Posted by: Jeff (Ohio) on July 10, 2013 5:07AM
I was just blessed by this new law, which saved me from having an M4 and instead amounted to a $300 'donation' I am giving the fine city of Wickliffe. I must say the officers were surprisingly cordial. My main mistake was consenting to a search, which I did because they implied dogs would have come and I'd have been busted just the same...but they might have been angrier.

When the cop asked why I was listening to music and doing this with friends at 30 i replied "well, its a lot safer and more fun than alcohol."


Posted by: Chris (Wickliffe) on January 16, 2013 11:01AM
Violence would drop. People would be more loving. And more food would sell. Give us weed as long as its illegal it will be a problem. Freaking gov't act like they so smart. How many of these same people act like they never rolled one up, be real with your self ohio, driving while on kush is better than the drinking habits you allow us to have. I can't even go get a drink after 10pm without having to spend 100 at bar, then chancing dui. Good for soul, good for injurys, cancer, relationships, and sex. If the weed you had didn't make you better in bed, then the sleep was on of the greatest or you need to stop with reggie


Posted by: rico (ohio) on November 29, 2012 11:11AM
U no, i do think that we need a thing in place 4 us felons that have changed. Cant speak 4 all the other felon s out there but i am not the same person i was when i went 2 prison. I used my time 2 better myself with an education


Posted by: Bill the cat (Lorain,oh) on November 20, 2012 1:11AM
Why do we lock anyone up in a box for the use of Cannabis? This will end soon!


Posted by: John Coit (Findlay) on September 27, 2012 3:09AM
I was F***** by that law and now this Thank god but what about the last 5 years of my life? Ive been screwed and denied jobs, apt's and schools because of a friends pipe i took credit for. They should help people like me out and the millions of other good citizens that have been FU****!


Posted by: Darin (Mt Vernon) on September 10, 2012 4:09AM
It's a start in the right direction.i think it should be legal, and if they are worried about money, then they should make it like having a ccw. if you want to use it then you pay a small fee to have your card making you legal


Posted by: z ruckman (willard) on July 13, 2012 12:07PM
Outstanding work by the Ohio government and the voters and teams that helped put this in motion but I can't help but wonder if this all isn't some scheme to make $300 dollars everytime someone gets caught with pot and paraphernalia. Think about it....It's a $150 fine for possession and another $150 for paraphernalia. While this keeps people out of jail, I can't get over the idea that this is just some money making scheme....I dunno just thinking out loud I guess lol


Posted by: Anthony (Hamilton) on July 12, 2012 3:07AM
Who gives a rat's ass?


Posted by: j (dobbs) on July 10, 2012 8:07AM
Grateful that this absurdly unjust loophole has been changed, although I agree that it provided additional revenue that will have to be extracted elsewhere.
However, this law ruined a lot of lives.
People should have their licenses reinstated and the misdemeanor charges dropped, at the very least.
Victimless "crimes" shouldn't even exist and wouldn't, if police stuck to the original policy of "protect and serve" as public servants.

Found some small measure of comic relief in the subtitle, a "roach" erroneously named as paraphernalia (with it's heavier penalty) compared to a small amount of marijuana.


Posted by: Cynthia (Cleveland) on July 10, 2012 5:07AM
Grateful that this absurdly unjust loophole has been changed, although I agree that it provided additional revenue that will have to be extracted elsewhere.
However, this law ruined a lot of lives.
People should have their licenses reinstated and the misdemeanor charges dropped, at the very least.
Victimless "crimes" shouldn't even exist and wouldn't, if police stuck to the original policy of "protect and serve" as public servants.

Found some small measure of comic relief in the subtitle, a "roach" erroneously named as paraphernalia (with it's heavier penalty) compared to a small amount of marijuana.


Posted by: Cynthia (Cleveland) on July 10, 2012 5:07AM
What I don't understand is I live in one nation under god but yet our government promotes individuality in the states. If we have one state that allows the handling and cultivation of cannabis then why not the rest of the states..Insted of promoting the legalization of cannabis let's promote the legalization of freedom because we the people don't have it...time for new world order...Don't stop fighting and its never to late to make a change..Love you fellow Americans live well.


Posted by: A guy (america) on July 9, 2012 12:07PM
Grateful that this absurdly unjust loophole has been changed, although I agree that it provided additional revenue that will have to be extracted elsewhere.
However, this law ruined a lot of lives.
People should have their licenses reinstated and the misdemeanor charges dropped, at the very least.
Victimless "crimes" shouldn't even exist and wouldn't, if police stuck to the original policy of "protect and serve" as public servants.

Found some small measure of comic relief in the subtitle, a "roach" erroneously named as paraphernalia (with it's heavier penalty) compared to a small amount of marijuana.


Posted by: Cynthia (Cleveland) on July 9, 2012 9:07AM
This story is incorrect. The effective date on SB 337 is September 28th. See the Secretary of State's "effective date of legislation" page at http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/LegnAndBallotIssues/GAJournal.aspx


Posted by: Dan Riffle (Washington, DC) on July 9, 2012 2:07AM
One step at a time. This is fantastic, lets keep working toward the goal of legalized medical marijuana. 1 step at a time.


Posted by: That guy from ohio (ohio) on July 8, 2012 10:07AM
That is amazing an the right path. My question is then does it retro act into past convictions? I lost my license for a dug out and the minniumum 100$ fine an only minimum fine for possesion. My judge didn't think it was serious in her opinion but said she was obligated by law to remove driving privileges.no other crime crime commited at the time. I simply smelled of burnt herb .


Posted by: Daniiel Klingshirn (Napoleon) on July 8, 2012 8:07AM
Its about time the law got changed. Thank you Shirley Smith and Bill Seitz


Posted by: Terry Smith (Bellevue, Ohio) on July 8, 2012 4:07AM
Ohio finally takes this important and sensible step!


Posted by: Ben M (Cleveland OH) on July 8, 2012 2:07AM
In response to "st" above you said: But I am sure the justice system in Ohio will find some other way to sidestep the will of the voters. The police and judges in this state are united against the people they serve.
I say: What it's all about is MONEY! Every little infraction anymore, in particular any traffic laws generate loads of cash to local and state governments, and they typically just keep adding more and more laws!


Posted by: lrh (Bellevue-Port Clinton, Ohio) on July 7, 2012 10:07AM
Thanks, Shirley Smith of Cleveland I am so sick of seeing young adults criminalized for the rest of their lives for having a zip lock bag, or pack of rolling papers you can buy at any store in town. But I am sure the justice system in Ohio will find some other way to sidestep the will of the voters. The police and judges in this state are united against the people they serve.


Posted by: st on July 6, 2012 7:07AM
So encouraging! But let's not forget the many innocent souls that were ensnared by this little "gotcha" for so long. Keep on reforming Ohio, and stand up to Washington D.C.'s agenda.


Posted by: Gen34rent (Ohio) on July 6, 2012 4:07AM
Thank you finally!!!!!


Posted by: Jason (Kent) on July 6, 2012 4:07AM
what does "most" paraphernalia mean?


Posted by: wojo on July 6, 2012 2:07AM
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