Voters in Ohio city OK measure decriminalizing marijuana

A backer of Newark's law says it will allow police to concentrate on the city's heroin and opiate problem

FILE - In this May 5, 2015, file photo, a marijuana plant grows at a Minnesota Medical Solutions greenhouse in Otsego, Minn. A southeastern Illinois company says it has started growing medical marijuana and may be the first in the state to do so. Officials at Ataraxia in the Edwards County city of Albion, Ill., said Monday, July 13, 2015 that they received state authorization July 10, and have started cultivating the genetic strains that will be the basis of their products. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)
(Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) – Voters in central Ohio have approved a measure eliminating criminal penalties for possessing smaller amounts of marijuana.
    
The Columbus Dispatch reports that 53 percent of Newark voters approved decriminalizing possession of less than 200 grams of marijuana, about 7 ounces. The new law says possessing less than 200 grams in Newark is a minor misdemeanor subject to no fines, jail or probation.

Possession of less than 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor under Ohio law that could result in a fine and loss of driving privileges.

A backer of Newark’s law says it will allow police to concentrate on the city’s heroin and opiate problem. She says the measure addresses discrepancies between Newark and Ohio law.

Newark is a city of about 48,000 people 40 miles east of Columbus.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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