Written By: Ishton W. Morton – August 15th, 2019
According to Sasha Naiman, the deputy director of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, who said; “Drug usage and marijuana usage are actually similar between Caucasian and Black Americans are similar in rates. But, the arrest rates depending on the studies are two to six times different.”
This is the similar rationale expressed by Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman and contended that it is time to remove such a potential barrier to employment.
Smitherman continued to argue that this barrier in accordance with various studies shows disproportionately African-Americans are enormously affected when caught up in the war on drugs.
However, if you were charged with possessing of up to 3 ounces of marijuana in the City of Cincinnati in the last 30 days by a Cincinnati police, chances are you will be off the hook.
Subsequently, The City of Cincinnati has decided to stop (pot) marijuana prosecution for that amount of (pot) marijuana up to 3 ounces.
This announcement came as a result of City Council recent vote to remove penalties for low-level drug possession.
Accordingly, Christina Blackburn who has been through the justice system for low-level drug possession spoke about those who have been victimized by this problem.
She added;”I see it every day and it’s shattering to me for people not to be able to make an honest living.”
Blackburn continued to say; “I friends who possess marijuana strictly for personal use, but now have criminal records that prevent their professional rise. They can’t find a job!”
Also, Blackburn said; “I know a fellow right now who is a job-hunts for four or five hours a day and cannot find anything over minimum wage because of marijuana.”
However, Blackburn has nothing but high praise for Vice Mayor Smitherman crediting him with the city’s decision to stop prosecuting for three ounces or less is labeled “real criminal justice reform.”
Although I am and will continue to be an enormously strong supporter of the City of Cincinnati move to decriminalized marijuana it is particularly necessary for the people who find themselves in this predicament to understands that they were wrong and not the city. It is nobody’s fault but your own!
It is somewhat nebulous to me, however, Blackburn had this to say; “People lose jobs over this. Also, people lose their homes, their livelihoods and then they’re homeless and we’re wondering why we have such a homeless population.”
Nevertheless, according to information received, Naiman checked the clerk’s website and found 22 people in the city charged with misdemeanor pot possession under state law since June. However, only one of the 22 cases was under the city code.
Naiman added, “that’s step one, no arrest record and step two there will be no conviction record.”
Moreover, Ray Faller with the Public Defender has a valid argument. He said, “although I am glad for the reform I must waved a caution flag.”
He Added; “The practical problem is under Ohio law possession of under 100 grams is still a minor misdemeanor under the Ohio Revised Code which applies throughout Ohio. The city can’t abolish that statute.”
Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman is elected to do the bidding(s) of the citizenry of the City of Cincinnati, Ohio and he is doing it. We need to continue supporting him and advance our to the level of the State Of Ohio.
Evidently, countywide and under state law approximately one case per day involves drug paraphernalia. Yes! This may be a different type of argument, if we are going to bring about substantial change in the criminal justice arena some of these issues beyond the scope of our discussion must be considered.
Smitherman has mentioned a city charter amendment on expungement that could be in the works and may possibility be on the ballot as early as this fall.