Next month, Ohio voters in 14 cities will decide on local ballot measures to decriminalize cannabis in their jurisdictions.

NORML Appalachia and the Sensible Movement Coalition collected the required number of verified signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative for the ballots.

The cities which will decide on local marijuana decriminalization measures in November are as follows:

  • Brookside
  • Dillonvale
  • Laurelville
  • Martins Ferry
  • McArthur
  • Morristown
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Murray City
  • New Lexington
  • New Straitsville
  • Powhatan Point
  • Rayland
  • Tiltonsville
  • Yorkville

Voters in these cities will be asked the following question:

““Shall [city] adopt the Sensible Marihuana Ordinance, which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest penalty allowed by State Law?”

If approved, these cities would join nearly two dozen Ohio cities that have already decriminalized low-level cannabis possession, either through ballot measures or local city council ordinances.

Not all of the marijuana decriminalization proposals are the same though. The ballot measures for New Straitsville and McArthur contain more detailed provisions that outline a 200 gram possession limit for cannabis and $0 fines.

Marijuana reform activists in Ohio are also busy with reforming cannabis laws at the state level as well. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA) wants to put a marijuana legalization question on next year’s statewide ballot. CTRMLA must collect 132,887 valid signatures from registered voters in order to qualify.

Under CTRMLA’s proposal, adults 21 and older would be able to possess and purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow six plants at home. If the initiative makes it to the ballot and is approved by voters, Ohio lawmakers would have four months to act on the measure.

Ohio’s marijuana-related ballot activity follows the recent filing of the first ever bill to legalize cannabis in Ohio’s legislature. The 180-page bill would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to five ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants at home.

The proposed legislation faces a stern test in the GOP-controlled legislature, however, and is also unlikely to be well-received by Gov. Mike DeWine.

The Sensible Movement Coalition, meanwhile, is also working on other local marijuana decriminalization proposals for cities in West Virginia and South Carolina.

About the Author: Matt Brooks

Matt is a journalist from San Francisco who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than six years.

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