Ohio Supreme Court Makes It Official: Norwood Won't Vote On Decriminalizing Marijuana

Sep 22, 2016

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that Norwood voters won't be voting on a ballot issue in November which would decriminalize marijuana in the city.

Sensible Norwood, the group which circulated the petitions to put the issue on the Nov. 8 ballot, appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court after the Hamilton County Board of Elections rejected the ballot issue in August. 

All seven members of the Ohio Supreme Court signed an opinion rejecting Sensible Norwood's request for a writ ordering the board of elections to place the issue on the ballot.

The board's lawyer told election officials that the ballot issue was illegal under state law because it created new felonies and would have prohibited Norwood police officers from reporting possession and sale of marijuana to any authority except the city attorney; and would prevent the city attorney from referring any such reports for prosecution.

In other words, no one could be punished under the law for possession or sale of marijuana.

The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the two Democrats and two Republicans on the board that because a significant portion of the proposed ordinance was administrative and not legislative, the board of election was correct in not placing it on the ballot.

Brice Keller, the lawyer for Sensible Norwood, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The board of elections was hoping for a quick decision from the Ohio Supreme Court because election officials must mail out overseas and military ballots for the November election on Saturday.

Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, told WVXU this decision will allow the elections board to make that deadline.

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