Image via Newark Advocate
Nov 26, 2014
Newark Advocate - Granville Village Council tweaked one law governing marijuana offenses last week, and introduced another update that would decriminalize marijuana possession.
Council on Nov. 19 agreed to amend a section of the code regarding driver’s license suspensions related to possession of marijuana paraphernalia, changing the penalty of six months to five years and giving Mayor’s Court judges discretion over the prospect of suspending a license rather than being required to.
The change was deemed necessary because a recent automatic update of the village’s ordinance code from the Ohio Revised Code carried with it the requirement that such license suspensions, for possession of marijuana paraphernalia, be mandatory.
However, the council previously passed legislation making license suspensions for all other marijuana offenses discretionary.
This change, which passed by a 6-0 vote, makes the paraphernalia license suspensions consistent with the other related offenses in the Granville code, Village Law Director Michael King said.
It will be the subject of a public hearing at the council’s Dec. 3 meeting.
Village Law Director Michael King said Granville’s law covering cultivation of marijuana is currently less stringent than it is for possession.
Someone currently possessing less than 100 grams faces a third-degree misdemeanor criminal charge, while a cultivating charge for less than 100 grams would be a minor misdemeanor, the equivalent of a traffic citation.
The proposed change makes possession of less than 100 grams a minor misdemeanor and more than 100 grams and less than 200 grams a fourth-degree misdemeanor crime, changing it from a third-degree misdemeanor.
“If it’s above 200 grams, it becomes a felony,” King said.
King said the Granville code currently makes growing 100 grams of marijuana a lesser offense than “possession” of 100 grams of marijuana, which, he said, “seems kind of silly.”
“If your goal is to reduce marijuana use, punishing the grower less than the user is counter-intuitive,” he said.
King cautioned that “decriminizalization” is not the same as “legalization.”
“Thanks to the help of Dennis Cauchon, we were able to identify these issues and are making these changes,” King said of both changes at last week’s council session.