Colorado governor signs bill to double marijuana possession limit, calls for pardons review
Ohio activists have called a marijuana decriminalization measure on a 2021 local ballot – the first of a dozen reform proposals that could be presented to voters this year as collection efforts signings continue statewide.
The Hocking County Board of Elections on Wednesday certified that defenders had collected enough valid signatures to bring the issue of decriminalization to voters in Murray City. This is the latest development in a years-long campaign to embrace policy change at the local level while statewide efforts have stalled.
A total of 22 Ohio jurisdictions have so far adopted local statutes that reduce the sentence for possession of low-level cannabis from a misdemeanor punishable by jail time and a fine of “the penalty”. lowest permitted by state law ”.
NORML Appalachia of Ohio and the Sensible Movement Coalition (SMC) led the Ohio decriminalization movement. Activists expect to see more reform measures validated by electoral councils statewide in the days and weeks to come.
Signatures for an initiative at McArthur have been handed in and should be validated soon.
Decriminalization efforts are also underway in Bellefontaine, Belmont, Bethesda, Bloomingdale, Bridgeport, Brilliant, Brookside, Chippewa Lake, Flushing, Gloria Glens Park, Holloway, Huntsville, Kent, Lakeview, Laurelville, Morristown, Mt. Pleasant, New Lexington , New Straitsville, Powhatan Point, Rayland, Rushville, Russell’s Point, Shadyside, St. Clairsville, Tarlton, Tiltonsville and Yorkville.
“Citizens have, through a citizen voting initiative, decided it is time for a change,” Don Keeney, executive director of NORML Appalachia of Ohio, told Marijuana Moment. “There are two months left in this petition cycle, so we plan to be very busy.”
The 22 jurisdictions where activists have had success in the past include major cities like Dayton, Toledo, Athens, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland – some of which have passed voter-approved voting measures, while others have taken measures via municipal councils. Now, defenders are aiming for more than double that total this year.
Reform groups had hoped for even more victories last year, but the coronavirus pandemic has derailed many efforts. While four cities approved the policy change in 2020, advocates initially planned to target a total of 14 municipalities.
“Despite COVID-19 regulations, Sensible Movement Coalition and NORML Appalachia Ohio continue to educate local citizens on their right to house rule and reasonable decrim,” said Jolie Moyer and Pricilla Harris, who work with both groups. , in a joint statement to Marijuana Moment.
In light of the setbacks of the coronavirus pandemic, advocates sued the state last year, asking that they be allowed to collect signatures electronically. But while a federal judge sided with them in a May 2020 decision, the decision was overturned by an appeals court the following month.
Campaigners had also hoped to put a marijuana legalization initiative on the statewide ballot last year, but that effort was also stalled as the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions on public health issues made collecting signatures almost impossible.
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