By Ryan Smith
Ohio has recently seen increased support for allowing adults to choose to consume marijuana, according to Cincinnati.com. Public opinion nationally is at an all time high, with 54% in support of making marijuana legal, and this has prompted many officials, including law enforcement, to reconsider the issue. Chris Lindsey, legislative analyst for MPP, attributes the changing attitudes to Americans viewing marijuana as less dangerous, saying they "realize [marijuana] is a much safer alternative to alcohol. It doesn't lead to violence and harmful effects." In addition to this, many view the "war on marijuana" to be futile, including a number of law enforcement officers.
Roger Moore, the Chief of Police in Chillicothe, Ohio, believes that marijuana is like alcohol and should be treated similarly. He believes that in light of the opiate epidemic that many places across America are facing, marijuana offenses are minor at best. Moore says, "I believe it's just like alcohol. Just because you drink beer doesn't mean you drink hard liquor ... Those that do marijuana, they do marijuana. There's plenty of people who don't smoke marijuana who do heroin, ecstasy and cocaine. (Marijuana enforcement) is not what my priority is in Chillicothe, it's heroin."
In Ohio, possession of 99 grams or less is a non-criminal citation, and residents can possess up to seven ounces of marijuana before facing any felony charges. Despite these relatively lenient penalties, prosecuting adults for marijuana in Ohio continues to saddle citizens with unnecessary criminal records at enormous costs in law enforcement time and resources.