DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – After Dayton voters overwhelmingly supported decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, Mayor Nan Whaley says the city will move forward with the proposal in January.
According to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, nearly 75 percent of city voters were in favor of the measure.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and the city commission said in August they would move forward with the proposal if voters supported it.
"I knew it was important 'cause we were already doing it behind closed doors," said Latasha Rountree, Dayton resident.
Rountree said she's excited about Dayton decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana after she first suggested changing the city's ordinance a few months ago. She uses marijuana for medical purposes but wanted reassurance people like her wouldn't be penalized, she said.
"Even if you did have your meds, and there was no explanation as to how you got them, you would not be treated like a criminal," Rountree said.
Whaley said she's pleased voters were in favor of the proposal. She said she doesn't believe the change will worsen the drug epidemic and will only be a positive for city residents.
"We think that this is a way for our police officers not to be going after something that doesn't really have any impact on neighborhood safety," Whaley said.
According to Martin Gehres, assistant city attorney, officials are still working out exactly how the law would be amended, but penalties like fines would be eliminated for minor misdemeanor offenses, which include possession of 100 grams or less of marijuana.
"I'm actually really, really excited that they decriminalized it because I know it affects so many people," said Ezra Baker, who lives in Dayton.
"As long as it's used sparingly," said Nanne Holmes, who also lives in Dayton. "As long as people don't overindulge."
The city commission plans to approve marijuana decriminalization at a meeting during the first week of January, Whaley said. It will likely be passed as an emergency ordinance, Whaley said, so it would go into effect immediately after it is passed.
The city is working with the police department and county prosecutor's office about the best way to implement this change, Gehres said.
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