During a city-wide vote on Tuesday September 15, 70% of Toledoans said YES to removing all criminal penalties for possession of under 200 grams of marijuana and reducing penalties for larger possession offenses.
The ordinance "eliminate fines and jail time for marijuana violations and lowers all marijuana crimes in the Toledo Municipal Code to lowest level allowed under state law... The measure would also prohibit asset forfeitures and driver's license suspensions for marijuana violations and forbid reporting of convictions to professional licensing agencies when the the offense is prosecuted under the Toledo Municipal Code and not the Ohio Revised Code," per a report in the Toledo Blade newspaper.
The proposal, called the Sensible Marihuana Orinance, is the result of a successful petition signature drive. Once the signature total was verified the Toledo City Council had an opportunity to adopt the proposed Ordinance. On August 26, 2014, with an 11-1 vote they refused to do so. The city's residents have corrected that mistake.
The proposal was supported by local ACLU and National Organization of Women representatives.
It was the marijuana issue that brought people to the polls, in shockingly large numbers, said Kevin Spitler, owner of the Toledo Hemp Center. "The turnout was almost double," Spitler said, "and 99.12% voted on the issue."
Of the 16,201 Toledo voters casting a ballot on Tuesday, 16,058 indicated their choice on Issue 1. Voting on the marijuana ordinance was optional.
The Toledo Blade states the most recent election bearing a similarity to this one occurred in 2011. At that time, only 4.4% of the city's eligible voters participated in the election. 9.06% of the city's 178,000 eligible voters cast ballots on Tuesday.
Why did so many show up to cast their votes? The pot thing.
Although the September 15 election was city-wide, only 4 Districts were voting on anything other than the marijuana ordinance. In those four Districts a total of 9,500 voters selected a candidate in the primary elections for City Council positions. Votes in the Council elections were not taken in the other Districts, where there were two or less candidates vying for the Council position.
More than 6,700 voters went to the polls in Toledo just to make a choice regarding the decriminalization of marijuana. Even in the Districts where Council positions were being voted on, a significant portion of voters ignored the candidates and ONLY voted on the marijuana ordinance issue. In District 1, 8% of voters arriving at the polls only voted on the issue of a marijuana ordinance; in District 3, it was 6%; District 4, 5.2%; and in District 6, 4.2%.
The votes, as reported by the Lucas County election website:
Issue 1 Sensible Marihuana
Total Votes 16058
YES 11261 70.13%
NO 4797 29.87%
The full language of the Ordinance can be found HERE.
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Source: The Compassion Chronicles