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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        Oregon City Council on Monday voted unanimously against “The Sensible Marijuana Ordinance,” which sends the proposal to the November ballot for voters to decide.

        Mayor Mike Seferian said council had two options: To pass the ordinance, which would then become law, or reject it, allowing voters to decide the issue.

        “If you want voters to decide, you would reject it,” said Seferian.

        Councilwoman Sandy Bihn, who paused before voting against the proposal, said the ordinance was “confusing and misleading.”

        “I’ll say no. But I think this is extremely confusing and misleading. I don’t like the box we’ve been put in,” said Bihn.

        City Administrator Mike Beazley said the initiative petition was sent to the Lucas County Board of Elections. “There were sufficient signatures. We had a hearing with the expectation that council would act on the matter,” he said.

        The issue was discussed at a Safety Committee meeting before it went to city council.

       

No change

        City Councilman Tim Zale, chairman of the Safety Committee, told The Press that the ordinance would have decriminalized, not legalized, possession of marijuana by using the municipal code.

        “The code itself really doesn’t change. It would still say it’s illegal to possess marijuana. But there would be no penalties,” said Zale, a retired Oregon police officer. “The initiative would wipe out all the penalties. There would be no penalty if you were caught possessing marijuana. The code currently has penalties. But we don’t use the municipal code. We use the state code. So even if we passed it, it wouldn’t mean anything because we still wouldn’t be using the municipal code.”

        Beazley called the proposal “an unusual case.”

        “We use Ohio Revised Code for prosecuting all crimes. Municipal code parallels state law, but we don’t use it,” he said. “There’s only one area in which we use the municipal code because there is not a corresponding state code. No matter what happens, we would still use state law unless someone amends it.”

        Beazley met with the citizen’s group that submitted the petition to inform them that even if the ordinance were passed, it wouldn’t change things.

        “If this were passed, I don’t think they would notice any difference in prosecution or action. They said they understood and that it would be recognized as a political statement,” said Beazley. “They hope someday to change state law.”

       

Other communities

        Beazley said the group has submitted similar initiative petitions for the ordinance in communities across Ohio, including Toledo and Harbor View.

        “They presented it in Toledo first, and it passed. It is also in several other communities across Ohio. They’re hitting a city or two at a time,” said Beazley.

        “The group has every right to do it. This is what our process is. Let democracy take its course,” added Beazley.               

       

       

       

 

 

age

If you could be a certain age forever, what would it be?
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