Cleveland Council OKs cutting low-level marijuana possession penalties

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland City Council approved legislation that would eliminate fines and jail time for low-level marijuana possession.

The council voted 15-2 this week in favor of the legislation that would mean no fines or jail time for possession of up to 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of marijuana.

Under the ordinance, which also will have to be approved by the mayor, those convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession would not be required to report it on an employment application and the charge would not appear on their criminal record.

The legislation does not make changes to penalties for higher level marijuana crimes

Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration, including the police chief and the chief city prosecutor, previously expressed support for the ordinance.

Several other Ohio cities have already reduced or eliminated penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana under state law can carry a fine of up to $250 and up to 30 days in jail. Federal law still considers marijuana to be on the same level as more serious drugs such as cocaine.