The Cincinnati City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee held a public hearing this morning on a resolution by Councilmember Charlie Winburn to allow for the expungement of cannabis possession misdemeanors, and a majority of those who spoke at the hearing were in favor.
Under the proposed law, those who’ve received a misdemeanor for possessing up to 200 grams of cannabis within the city will be able to have the charge sealed from their record, meaning it won’t appear on a background check. According to Winburn, this would affect over 10,000 individuals.
In 2006, Cincinnati passed a law making the possession of up to 200 grams of cannabis a criminal (non-expungeable) misdemeanor with a potential 30 day jail sentence. This law was repealed in 2010 to put the city in line with the state, which finds the possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis a minor (expungeable) misdemeanor with no possibility of jail time; possessing 100 to 200 grams can net someone a jail sentence of up to 30 days, but remains a minor misdemeanor.
It’s these charges, given between 2006 and 2010, that Winburn is trying to change; the proposal would alter these criminal misdemeanors to minor misdemeanors, allowing the individual who received them to apply for expungement.
“This is not something a Republican would normally do, but this is not right,” say Winburn. “I would rather have this law passed than force people into a life of crime because they can’t get a job.”
The proposal is supported by Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.
“We want to be part of the solution, not part of something that is burdensome to the criminal justice system,” Blackwell said during today’s public hearing.
The council is expected to vote on the proposal next week.
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