The consequence of getting caught with a joint – or any amount of marijuana under 100 grams – is becoming more serious in Cincinnati, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The City Council voted, 6-2, to increase the penalty for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Under the old law, it was a minor misdemeanor that brought a ticket and a $100 fine. Now it’s a fourth-degree misdemeanor that means immediate arrest – along with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. A second offense is now a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
At four hearings held by City Council, no one spoke in favor of the law, but dozens spoke out against it. Council members David Crowley and Jim Tarbell voted against the law, calling it “regressive.” The bill’s author, former police officer Cecil Thomas, said the idea is to get offenders in the system so court-ordered probation or drug treatment can track them.