Dayton Decriminalization: How police will handle marijuana offenses moving forward


    (Photo: Pixabay, via MGN Online)

    DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - More than 28,000 Dayton residents voted for decriminalizing marijuana in the city during the November election.

    "All this does is change the revised code of ordinances in the city of Dayton," Assistant City Attorney Martin Gehres said. "It reduces that fine from $150 to a zero-dollar fine. But if you're caught with or possessing marijuana, you can still be charged under the Ohio revised code."

    Starting on Friday, that change went into effect. But what does it mean for you?

    The Dayton Police Department issued an executive order which instructed officers on how to proceed with citing marijuana offenses moving forward, which advises officers use their best judgement.

    If they choose not to write a ticket, they must still take and destroy any marijuana. If the drug is connected to another crime, they are advised to cite it as part of the larger investigation.

    ABC 22/FOX 45 reached out to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who said that they will still cite offenses under state law, as troopers do not enforce city ordinances.

    Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck declined a request for an interview, saying he would comment on the decriminalization after he sees the impact of it.

    City lawyers also said the changes only apply to the possession of marijuana. Driving while under the influence and other drug-related offenses are still considered criminal.

    "This is mainly focused on users, not sellers, not traffickers, not anything else," Gehres said. "Trafficking will still be enforced in the city of Dayton, along with if you're caught selling, the city of Dayton and its police force is still going to be enforcing those."

    ABC 22/FOX 45 also reached out to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who responded with a statement that said, "We trust that law enforcement will continue to enforce the laws of the state of Ohio."

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