Cleveland Marijuana Arrests Could Soon Come Without Fines Or Jail Time

While the proposal would not decriminalize marijuana possession in Cleveland, the councilman sponsoring the ordinance hopes it will be a step in that direction. [mikeledray / Shutterstock]
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Cleveland City Council is considering an ordinance that would remove fines and prohibit jail time for possession of marijuana offenses.

The proposed ordinance wouldn’t decriminalize marijuana in Cleveland. And state laws against possession still exist.

Under the proposal, marijuana possession would still be a criminal charge in Cleveland. Up to 100 grams would be a minor misdemeanor, between 100 and 200 grams a 4th degree misdemeanor. All fines and court costs would be suspended.

According to Councilman Blaine Griffin, who introduced the measure, he’s hoping the city’s other police forces, like Metroparks or Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, will not charge for possession under state law.

“We’re trying to codify what many people are already doing — most judges do not give jail time and do not give significant fines for this,” Griffin said.

He added that the ordinance modeled after what the City of Dayton has done to reduce marijuana arrests.

Griffin says this could be the first step toward statewide decriminalization of marijuana.

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the local public housing agency as the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, instead of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority.

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