CINCINNATI (WCPO) — City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday decriminalizing up to 100 grams of marijuana.
The ordinance — proposed by Jeff Pastor and Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman — allows people to freely possess 100 grams (3.53 ounces) with no age limit. Marijuana use is not permitted in public.
A five-member majority voted in favor of the ordinance: Smitherman, Pastor, Greg Landsman, Wendell Young and Chris Seelbach.
P.G. Sittenfeld was not at Wednesday’s meeting. Members Amy Murray, David Mann and Tamaya Dennard voted against enacting the proposal.
Dennard said she’s in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, but won’t vote ‘yes’ until there is a clear path for expunging the records of people who have been punished for possessing smaller amounts of marijuana in the past.
“I understand what we’re working on but I can’t move forward and decriminalize this,” she said. “I’m concerned about black men moving forward, yes, but also black men and black people who have already been impacted by this.”
Mann — who introduced his own proposal limiting the amount to just one ounce — said he couldn’t support the ordinance based on the amount and lack of an age restriction.
“This says it’s okay if you’re 12 years old in Cincinnati to possess 100 grams of marijuana,” Mann said. “Why on earth are we doing that? That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Mann said he requested to hold the vote on his proposal until all nine council members were present.
Landsman, who supported the ordinance, said “it’s about time,” but did question what will happen to young people found to be in possession. Young, another supporter, said the ordinance is “an opportunity to liberate some people.”
“People who are in every way we can think of as law-abiding have a vice,” Young said. “They smoke marijuana. That happens to be illegal.”
The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days.