No Council Vote to Decriminalize Pot... Yet

Cincinnati City Hall

( Cincinnati ) - No vote was taken Wednesday on Cincinnati City Council on a proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession up to 100 grams.

The proposal was written by Vice Mayor Chris Smitherman and Councilman Jeff Pastor, who say that every day the city waits, more people's lives are ruined over the possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Both Councilman David Mann and Councilwoman Amy Murray raised issues about the effect decriminalization could have. Mann suggested it could lead to people openly smoking marijuana in public. Murray said the measure was moving too quickly, and raised concerns about Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies who patrol in the city still following state law that makes marijuana possession illegal.

Mann and Murray were the two "no" votes on suspending the rules to vote on the proposal, meaning a vote on the issue itself was not taken.

Where the city goes next is unclear. Mayor Cranley said he's willing to conduct a second reading of the ordinance at next week's meeting, pointing out that he's also promised to take up the same issue but with a 200 gram limit next week.

Smitherman and Pastor expressed their frustration with the delay. Smitherman indicated he'd like the city solicitor to start drafting language for an amendment to the city charter to be put before voters. Both men also talked about calling special sessions to get the matter considered more quickly.

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