Portsmouth, Ohio Marijuana Ordinance Approved Monday?
Portsmouth, Ohio City Council has put the Marijuana Ordinance on the agenda for a first read during this Monday’s (08-24-20) meeting. The proposal is actually meant to amend “Section 513.03(C) (2) Drug Abuse: Controlled Substance possession or use of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Portsmouth, Ohio.” Here is a copy of that proposed legislation.
Fun Fact: The ordinance (as well as indictments we receive) spell it Marihuana. Is that wrong? Nope. This legal spelling dates to the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.
Report Without Bias
It has been a common habit of City Council to bypass their own three-read rule and pass legislation on the first read. Look no further than the recent City Masking Requirements. That was passed on a 4-1 vote during the first read. Although there are three freshman council members, this is not a new issue. We have reported many times over the years about the City Council waving the three-read rule on items. Generally, those have been for emergency allocation of funds or to meet deadlines by contractors and other outside organizations. However, the waving of the three read rule has been the source of (sometimes contentious) debates for years.
History is the best indicator of the future. It is not impractical to report that this ordinance to amend an ordinance could be passed on the first read.
What would need to happen? There would be a motion to wave the three-read rule. That would require a second and then some debate among the councilmembers. If all council members are in attendance, they would simply need the author of the proposal to make a motion and the three freshman council members fall in line. (This is how the masks were passed). The remaining councilperson and the Mayor would be rendered irrelevant and the ordinance would pass in just a few minutes.
Portsmouth Ohio Marijuana Approved?
Tell the Truth without Compromise
The person who is presenting this legislation is the same person responsible for getting Portsmouth chosen as an All American City based on its fight against the blight of opioids.
According to several national publications dedicated to marijuana information, 1 gram would equal about three traditional sized “joints”. With those nationally accepted norms, Portsmouth is looking to decriminalize the possession of 200 marijuana cigarettes. That is the equivalent of a carton of traditional tobacco cigarettes.
The effects of 1 gram of marijuana
Here are some statements made by experienced “Budtenders” regarding how marijuana affects the user and cautions for new users.
Barb Kueber, 20 years of experience. “You don’t need anywhere near 1 gram in a joint, use thin, slow-burning papers, roll skinnier joints, you should get 3 or 4 joints from a gram. Have a couple of puffs…wait a few minutes, see how you feel then finish no more than 1/2 that joint, that should be lots for the first time.”
Jeremy Schoenhaar, It Technician. “1 gram is definitely way too much for a beginner. If your buying illegally, then it could be anything from complete dirt to really top-shelf flower. In either case, you can always smoke more if needed. Smoking less only works next time. Start with about 1/10 of a gram (100 mg), wait 15 minutes, repeat as needed.”
Ben Robinson “If you smoke an entire gram of weed in at one time, you will be stoned out of your mind trying to figure out which way is up. Honestly, you probably wouldn’t get through the whole joint before you feel overwhelmed and stop smoking it. Remember you can always have a bit more if you are not stoned enough but once you are uncomfortably high it’s difficult to bring yourself down.”
The cost of 200 grams of marijuana
One thing I noticed while researching for this article is that buyers no longer refer to buying weed in terms of ounces. Previously, one would order a quarter ounce, half-ounce, or an ounce. Now, buyers speak in terms of grams. I’m told that the Medical Marijuana industry has moved the lexicon towards speaking in terms of grams. In addition, the street prices have gone up due to the prices demanded by the Medical Dispensaries.
Local prices range from $10 per gram to $40 per gram depending on “quality”. The median average seems to be around $15 per gram.
With those numbers in hand, we can calculate the street value of the proposed legislation would mean a person could possess $3,000 worth of marijuana.
The next step up (illegal) would be a 4th-degree misdemeanor. According to O.R.C. 2929.28 (2)(iv), the fine would include court costs and “For a misdemeanor of the fourth degree, not more than two hundred fifty dollars”. There is also a possibility of up to 30 days in jail. That is almost always waived or suspended especially for first-time offenders without prior arrest on other charges.
No mention of other forms of THC
As we pointed out earlier, the wording of the City Ordinance harkens back to the spelling related to the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. There is no mention of other forms of THC. What about Edibles, Wax, Vape, Dabs, Tinctures, Topicals, or Bath Bombs?
Under these new guidelines, can I (a resident of the City) make THC infused bath bombs and sell them on 2nd Street? According to the recipe, I need 15 milligrams of THC. If 200 grams are decriminalized, that’s 200,000 milligrams. So, I could stock over 130,000 bath bombs on hand at once.
Sources of Marijuana
According to an article in Forbes Magazine, marijuana is known to be manipulated. Even though it may look like the leafy bud of nature, the DEA has commonly found it laced with embalming fluid, opioids, fentanyl, “bath salts” (MDPV or MDPK), and even bug spray. Can the citizens get their weed inspected like Halloween Candy? After all, the number one reason cited for marijuana is health (pain relief, PTSD, lack of appetite from chemotherapy). We can’t have bad weed making sick people sicker, or worse. “We don’t care what’s in your weed, just be sure to wear your masks” is not a good slogan for an All American City.
Want to have your voice heard?
Since the return of Portsmouth City Council, after the COVID hiatus, meetings have been closed in order to comply with the 10 person rule. There have been notices given for the public to ask questions via the City Clerk’s office. Those notices have been accompanied by a deadline. After checking the Council’s public pages and our press notifications, there was no date and time given as a cut off for remarks by the public or the press.
That would leave any reasonable person to assume you still have time to make your voice heard. This is the email for the City Clerk. This is how the Council has asked that communications be directed in the past. email@example.com