As the the defeat of the cartel-style legalization in Ohio continues to be analyzed, many commentators have noted that the biggest cost of ResponsibleOhio’s failed campaign is the continuation of marijuana arrests in the state. Indeed, many argued prior to the election that this flawed initiative should be supported because it was important to end marijuana arrests, no matter what.
And what follows below will mean nothing to individuals who end up with criminal charges for marijuana possession or related crimes in Ohio in the aftermath of this failed legalization effort. Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is that compared to most states, not many people actually face criminal charges for marijuana possession in Ohio.
One person faced with criminal charges for marijuana possession is one too many. But marijuana users in Ohio face a much better situation in terms of penalties and arrest trends than most people in the United States.
Here are the facts.
In Ohio, the penalty for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana is a maximum fine of $150. Possession of 100 to 200 grams of marijuana is subject to a 30-day jail sentence and a maximum fine of $250. Cultivation of marijuana for personal use is an affirmative defense, meaning personal use has to be established by the defendant, and is a misdemeanor offense.
According to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, in 2012, there were 18,403 arrests in Ohio for marijuana offenses. Most of these (93 percent) were for possession. These include decriminalized offenses involving possession of 100 grams or less.
The UCR program provides data on marijuana arrests in 2012 for most of the states in the country, with the exception of Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C.
Ohio has one of the lowest arrest rates for marijuana offenses in the U.S. at 159 per 100,000. The only states with lower arrests rates include California and Massachusetts (which changed marijuana possession to a civil offense not reported to the UCR program), Washington and Alaska (which recently legalized marijuana), and the states of Montana, Vermont, Hawaii, Connecticut and Alabama.
By comparison, the national arrest rate was 220 per 100,000. The arrest rate for marijuana in nearby Pennsylvania was 206 and the arrest rate in Indiana was 202.
In 2012, the year Colorado enacted legalization, the arrest rate for marijuana offenses was 201 per 100,000 residents. In Oregon, which had decriminalized possession of small amounts prior to legalization of marijuana in 2014, the arrest rate in 2012 was 270 per 100,000.
The arrest rate for blacks in Ohio, in 2013, was significantly greater than the marijuana possession arrest rate for whites. The arrest rate for blacks was 487; this was 3.7 times higher than the arrest rate for whites, which was 132 per 100,000.
Interestingly, the NAACP opposed ResponsibleOhio’s legalization proposal because it would represent “tacit approval” of a drug that the organization believes has negative effects on families and children. Other state chapters of the civil rights groups have supported marijuana law reform because of the racial disparity in marijuana possession arrest rates. An offer by this author during the campaign to provide ResponsibleOhio with updated data on racial disparities in Ohio marijuana possession arrests received no response.
The analysis of the defeat of Issue 3 continues, with most observers calling attention to the same points raised here.
ResponsibleOhio took the support of marijuana users for granted; they were ignorant of the costs of deploying a Joe Camel-like mascot, Buddie; and it was a mistake to put the initiative on the ballot during an election cycle with low voter turnout. Noting that the organization “begrudgingly endorsed the initiative,” NORML founder and chief counsel Keith Stroup joined High Times in labeling the defeat a debacle, concluding that “the arrogance of this group was amazing, and their failure to understand the caution that is required when dealing with the marijuana issue, as contrasted to many other issues of public policy, was astounding.”
It is true that the marijuana consumers in Ohio are the real losers here. Fortunately, though, most of them remain protected from criminal sanctions by the state’s decriminalization policies.
The Return Of The Super Sativa Seed Club
Getting Lost At The FounderMade Discovery Show West
Oklahoma Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Staging Threats From Irate Cannabis Proponents
Study Suggests Legal Cannabis Could Create Over 100,000 Jobs in Florida
Expert Lighting Advice For Taking Your Grow To The Next Level
The Rebirth Of Subcool: The Inside Story Of A Legendary Bud Breeder
Authorities Investigating “Dank” Cartridges As Possible Culprit In Vape-Related Illnesses
The Best Hydroponic Methods For Growing Cannabis Yourself
Grow7 days ago
Master Of Hash: Frenchy Cannoli’s Plan To Change The World Of Hashmaking
News4 days ago
Canadian Cannabis Company Will Sell Marijuana For Less Than $5 Per Gram
News6 days ago
Researchers Study How to Treat Cannabis Addiction With More Cannabis
News6 days ago
Kushy Punch Under Scrutiny For Allegedly Making Illegal Vape Cartridges
Activism5 days ago
Compassion Lives on in California as Governor Signs The Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act
News5 days ago
California Governor Signs Several Marijuana-Related Bills
News5 days ago
Comprehensive Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania
News5 days ago
Florida Man Calls Police to Report His Roommate For Stealing His Weed