Dayton leaders vote to decriminalize some marijuana offenses

Credit: Mike Goheen

Credit: Mike Goheen

The Dayton City Commission voted Wednesday morning on legislation that would remove the fines and court fees for minor misdemeanor marijuana violations.

RELATED: Dayton leaders to discuss new plan for marijuana crimes 

The city will eliminate the financial penalties for minor pot offenses.

The city will get rid of a $150 fine and suspend court costs related to minor pot offenses.

The changes take effect in 30 days.

Dayton police officers would still have the discretion to charge pot offenses under either city law or state law, which still carries fines and court fees.

RELATED: Nearly 75 percent of Dayton voters want pot decriminalized 

At last week’s meeting, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said nearly three-fourths of Dayton residents voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, and she hopes the police department keeps that in mind.

“I think ... the ordinance makes sense and is in the spirit of what the voters passed,” Whaley said.

She said one of the main goals is to prevent people from getting criminal records they do not deserve and from getting stuck with fees they can’t afford.

RELATED: Dayton marijuana plan draws praise, criticism

Police leadership anticipates sending out a policy directive to officers explaining the city commission’s position and providing recommendations about how to respond to the changes in city code, said Martin Gehres, assistant city of Dayton attorney.

Some city residents are fired up about the changes.

“You don't get a ticket, who could beat that?” said Rhonda White. “I think it's a very good decision.”

White and Sylvia Woods said that since the state is already allowing marijuana for medical purposes, this just makes sense.

“It relaxes people, I haven't seen people shoot and kill people or drive crazy on marijuana,” said Woods.

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