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Lakewood Looks to Amend Law for Marijuana Paraphernalia

City council eyes measure that would bring the city code in line with new state law.

Those found in possession of marijuana paraphernalia — including pipes or bongs — might no longer face serious criminal punishment. 

That’s after a new state measure Senate Bill 337 — among other things — changed the law from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a minor misdemeanor.

On Monday night, city council introduced a change to the city ordinance that would reflect the new law.

“This is merely to bring our ordinances in conformity with state code,” said Lakewood Law Director Kevin Butler. “We’ve not asked Council to look at any other changes to the marijuana-paraphernalia ordinance, and I don’t expect any additional change.”

The measure was referred to council’s Oct. 15 public safety committee for further discussion.

“Because our ordinances cannot impose a harsher penalty than those allowed by state code, this ordinance would amend our code to follow suit,” Butler said. 

According to a memo from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, the new law “only relates to use or possession to use” marijuana paraphernalia.

A minor misdemeanor means that an offender would face a citation, rather than an arrest that comes with a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

Also, minor misdemeanors typically don’t mean jail time for offenders. Those convicted of a fourth-degree misdemeanor face as much as 30 days in jail.

“I have no insight as to why the General Assembly changed the state code,” said Butler. 

“I am aware that generally, the state legislature has been trying to reduce the statewide jail population; lowering any offense to a minor misdemeanor would serve that goal, because judges may not impose jail time for minor misdemeanors.”

Hope R October 05, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Alex you obviously missed our intended point. It's not just about the dog in the end it's about the council flip flopping what laws they choose to Amend and which ones they won't. It's insulting to those of us who were so deeply effected by that particular situation. So it's an example for lack of a better one of some infuriating double standards in our own city council. If you choose to believe it doesn't effect you or won't ever effect you or your family, I think you will be disappointed at some point. I hope not for your sake because it's not something I would wish on my worst enemy.
Steve October 05, 2012 at 08:17 PM
@Hope-Thank You, you said it much more eloquently then me, my friend. The double standards of city hall, can never, and should never be condoned by the citizens who put them in authority. Wake-up people, this has got to stop.
Hope R October 05, 2012 at 08:30 PM
No problem. I don't want people to get offended by us highjacking an article. This article is important. I just felt we needed to explain more about why we highjacked it. :) It has less to do with our dogs and more an example of what has happened in the past by people who seem to pick and choose what they want to do, more than what the people who employee them want.
MZ October 12, 2012 at 12:15 AM
m.z.1 Lax gun laws? Do you have any idea how many gun laws are currently on the books? Do you think that adding additional laws will stop criminals, and if so, why haven't they worked thus far? What new gun law would you suggest?
Patch reader October 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I wonder how long it will be before Ohio joins the ranks of those states who approve medical marijuana. States consider moving beyond medical marijuana By William M. Welch-USA Today Three states will vote Nov. 6 on whether to allow recreational use of marijuana. There's still a federal prohibition, and approval would surely bring court challenges. Use of marijuana for medical purposes is legal in Washington, D.C., and 17 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont. www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/23/marijuana-legalization-ballot-proposals/1642803/

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