Dayton leaders approve decriminalizing marijuana

Dayton leaders approve decriminalizing marijuana (Photo Courtesy: MGN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF)- Dayton' city commission voted this morning to officially decriminalize marijuana in the city.

The move comes after near 75-percent of voters approved the action in Novemeber.

That means in thirty days - on Friday, February 8th - marijuana will be decriminalized in Dayton.

But that doesn't mean it's legal and that is a big difference.

The city hopes the move will allow the legal system to focus on bigger issues...And take the burden off of some citizens.

"If you're caught possessing marijuana or hashish in the city of Dayton, the fine is $150 dollars. in 30 days, that will be reduced to a 0 dollar fine, said Martin Gehres, Asst. city attorney.

More than 28,000 voters approved the measure in November and about 10,000 were against it.

“I don’t think it will get anymore dangerous, I think it will get safer because then we will know what's in the substance, we'll have a legal standard for how much is too much,” said Michael Marsh of Dayton

"I don't really smoke it myself but I will say this - just be careful, if you choose to do that, where you're getting it from,” said Nick Worcester of Dayton.

However having weed on you is still a crime, it’s the enforcement and legal process that is changing. That means Dayton residents could still get in trouble depending on who they’re dealing with and what they’re doing.

“Even if you're smoking those drugs at that point, you would still be charged with a possession. If you're driving under the influence, then you'll get an OVI. The OVI law will still be the same,” Gehres said. “It is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana and hashish in the city limits or the state at large."

Dayton police will soon receive guidance from their leadership as to how to respond to the upcoming changes to city code

Up until now, most marijuana offenses in the city have been charged under state code which hasn’t changed

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