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Columbus City Council To Vote On Reducing Marijuana Fines

Marijuana plants
Jim Mone

Columbus City Council votes Monday night on a plan to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in the city code.

The measure would cut fines for marijuana possession by at least 90%, imposing a penalty of just $10 for people caught with 100 grams of the drug.

The move comes as a number of other Ohio municipalities reassess how they enforce the violations. Cincinnati, for instance, completely decriminalized possession of 100 grams last month.

Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin has led the effort locally and first floated the idea of reducing penaltieslate last year.

Despite Ohio’s relatively lenient penalties for possession, Hardin notes current misdemeanor fines of up to $250  can be onerous for some households and racial disparities in enforcement persist.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.