athens cannabis ordinance

Marijuana and Other Drug Laws

Marijuana laws are a hot topic in the United States right now. After the addition of marijuana to the prohibition list in 1937, we are now seeing a revolutionary cultural shift in states like Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon (and don’t forget about the District of Columbia) who have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. 23 other states have legalized medical marijuana, but it remains a criminal offense in Ohio – both medically and recreationally.

Throughout the years, Ohio has lessened regulation on marijuana. Any possession of marijuana is against the law, but the penalties are not as severe as in years past. Today, if you were caught with up to 3.5 ounces (approximately 100 grams) of marijuana or moving up to 20 grams of marijuana (selling or giving) constitutes a minor misdemeanor. The penalty is $150 fine and the possibility of a license suspension up to five years. No longer is jail time part of this crime.

A more severe penalty for marijuana possession is for holding over 200 grams or the movement of more than 20 grams of cannabis bud or 10 grams of hashish (a liquid, concentrated form of THC – the active ingredient in marijuana). If you are found with these amounts, you will be charged with a felony crime. Even more, if you are found driving under the influence of cannabis, you can spend anywhere from three days to six months in jail and face a six month to three year license suspension.

Regarding other drugs (cocaine, “club drugs,” heroin, LSD, and methamphetamine), the possession is illegal. Even more, possession with the intent to distribute brings much more severe penalties.

Drug charges are nothing to take lightly. It is very difficult to fight drug charges on your own. So if you’ve been charged with the possession of marijuana or other drugs in the Southeastern Ohio area, call Susan Gwinn, criminal attorney, to aid you in the defense of your case and the protection of your Constitutional rights. Susan Gwinn practices law in Southeastern Ohio, serving individuals throughout Athens County.

The challenge of defending yourself after breaking the marijuana and other drug laws in Athens, OH is high. Susan Gwinn Law Firm has a lawyer for you.

Athens, Ohio, Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative, Issue 6 (November 2017)

Issue 6: Athens marijuana decriminalization
The basics
Election date:
November 7, 2017
a Approved
Local marijuana
Related articles
Local marijuana on the ballot November 7, 2017 ballot measures in Ohio Athens County, Ohio ballot measures
See also
Athens, Ohio

A marijuana decriminalization initiative was on the ballot for Athens voters in Athens County, Ohio, on November 7, 2017. It was approved.

A yes vote was a vote in favor of reducing penalties for marijuana misdemeanor crimes in the city of Athens.
A no vote was a vote against reducing penalties for marijuana misdemeanor crimes in the city of Athens.

The official title of the initiative was The Athens Cannabis Ordinance (TACO).

As of 2017, the recreational use of marijuana was illegal in the state of Ohio, while medical marijuana was legal. The Ohio Revised Code specified that people convicted of marijuana misdemeanors pay fines and face possible jail time. People convicted for possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana faced fines up to $150 and no jail time, while people convicted for possession of 100 to 200 grams of marijuana faced fees up to $250 and up to 30 days of jail time. [1]

Issue 6 was designed to reduce the penalties associated with marijuana misdemeanors in Athens to the lowest penalty allowed by the state. [2] Athens is the sixth city in Ohio to pass a marijuana decriminalization measure.

The Athens Cannabis Ordinance was first proposed in 2016, but it failed to make the ballot by two signatures. [3]


  • 1 Election results
  • 2 Measure design
  • 3 Text of measure
    • 3.1 Ballot question
    • 3.2 Full text
  • 4 Support
  • 5 Opposition
  • 6 Background
  • 7 Path to the ballot
  • 8 Recent news
  • 9 See also
  • 10 External links
  • 11 Footnotes

Election results

Issue 6
Result Votes Percentage
a Yes 2,192 77.81%
No 625 22.19%

Election results from The Athens Messenger

Measure design

Issue 6 was designed to reduce penalties—including fines and court costs—for the following marijuana misdemeanors in the city of Athens: [4]

  • Possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana and up to 10 grams of hash
  • Cultivation of up to 200 grams of marijuana
  • Gifts of up to 20 grams of marijuana
  • Possession and sale of paraphernalia

Text of measure

Ballot question

The ballot question was as follows: [2]

Shall the City of Athens adopt the Athens Cannabis Ordinance, which lowers the penalty for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to lowest penalty allowed by the state law? [5]

Full text

The full text of the measure is available here.


The Athens Cannabis Ordinance (TACO) campaign was formed to place Issue 6 on the ballot through a citizen petition.

Writing on behalf of TACO in The Athens News, Caleb Brown said: “TACO is not legalization or even decriminalization: marijuana remains illegal. A better term is de-penalization, or removing penalties. It changes fines to $0 for misdemeanors. . The stated purpose of TACO is not to reduce fines but rather to redirect law-enforcement resources toward more serious and violent crimes.” [6] Brown also stated that Issue 6 would reduce the incentive for city police to enforce marijuana laws and that it would reduce fear for people using marijuana recreationally. [1]

Athens City Councilman Patrick McGee stated in a public forum on October 10, 2017, that he supported Issue 6.


Athens City Councilman Peter Kotses and council candidate Sarah Grace said in a public forum on October 10, 2017, that they opposed Issue 6. Both stated that they were concerned for students at Ohio University, echoing concerns laid out by Athens Law Director Lisa Eliason when TACO was first proposed in 2016. Kotses and Grace said that Issue 6 would affect the city of Athens and the Athens Police Department, but it would not affect the Ohio University Police Department, operating under the statewide Ohio Revised Code. Kotses said that students could be confused by the regulations, and, if charged with a misdemeanor on campus, they would be penalized and could lose federal financial aid. Grace added that Ohio University police wrote more citations than city police. [7]


Toledo was the first city in Ohio to pass a local marijuana decriminalization measure in 2015. In 2016, Bellaire, Logan, Newark, and Roseville passed similar measures reducing the penalties for marijuana misdemeanors. [8]

Path to the ballot

This measure was put on the ballot through a successful initiative petition campaign.

Recent news

The link below is to the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms Athens Local marijuana Issue 6. These results are automatically generated from Google. Ballotpedia does not curate or endorse these articles.

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