Anna Rose Redgate
On Nov. 6, U.S. citizens will head to the polls to cast their ballot and express their opinions to be voiced by a multitude of representatives. In Dayton, residents will use their voices on the ballot to decide whether or not to decriminalize possession of small quantities of marijuana.
On Aug. 29, the Dayton City Commission decided to put the issue on the ballot after Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley referred to the war on drugs as a complete failure. Whaley said criminalizing the drug has not stopped its prevalence in the community and has resulted in resources being allocated to less pertinent issues.
Currently in the state of Ohio, possession of 100 grams or less of marijuana is classified as a misdemeanor accompanied by a $150 fine. The misdemeanor charges, as well as the fine, could be waived if a majority of voters decide to decriminalize minor marijuana violations. Possession of larger quantities will still carry fines and charges.
According to a Twitter poll conducted on Aug. 30 by the Dayton Daily News, 71 percent of respondents believed Dayton should eliminate fines and potentially jail time for recreational pot possession. Another Twitter poll conducted by Ohio Politics found that 84 percent of the 641 voters said Dayton should decriminalize minor marijuana violations.
Two juniors who smoke marijuana said they agree with the city putting the question on the November ballot.
“I think that if you look at the bigger picture, marijuana possession and use, especially in the amounts we’re discussing to decriminalize, should be the least of the city’s concerns,” said one source who requested to remain anonymous because of privacy. “There’s no reason marijuana should still be illegal. It harms a lot less people than alcohol every year. If people want to smoke, nothing is really stopping them.”
The other source said this could eliminate wasteful spending. “If we took the money spent on arresting and prosecuting recreational marijuana users, which shouldn’t even be a crime to begin with, the city would save itself money to spend on more important issues.”
As a private university, UD will still dictate its own policy regarding marijuana possession. The policy, outlined in the University Handbook, states the illegal use, possession, manufacturing or distribution of marijuana is strictly prohibited.
Additionally, the outcome of this referendum will not impact state or federal law. In other words, marijuana still will be considered illegal to the state of Ohio and U.S. government.
UD students are able to vote on this issue and cast an Ohio ballot by registering at their campus address. Any questions regarding voter registration can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of worldatlas.com.