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ON THE STREET: Do Daytonians want possession of small quantities of marijuana to be decriminalized?

In November, Daytonians will vote whether they want to see the possession of small amounts of marijuana decriminalized.

The Dayton City Commission on Wednesday approved placing a measure on the Nov. 6 ballot that could lead to the city eliminating fines and potentially jail punishments for pot possession. If the majority vote is to decriminalize, Dayton would be one of the few Ohio communities to remove the penalties for recreational drug possession. 

>>Dayton voters to decide whether to end penalties for marijuana violations

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the war on drugs has been a complete failure, and criminalizing marijuana has not stopped a huge share of the population from using the drug and unfortunately it has put many people behind bars who do not belong there. 

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Recreational marijuana closer to Ohio ballot — but lots of work ahead

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“It’s not a gateway drug, and it’s not as adverse as alcohol, and though we don’t want young people smoking marijuana, we don’t want it to be criminalized,” she told this news organization.

Now it’s your turn

We wanted to hear what Daytonian’s think about this ballot issue for Dayton. This afternoon, we asked people spending their lunchtime in the Oregon District. Here’s what they had to say:

“Do you think approving this proposal will be a positive or negative for our city?” 

Ralph Shear

“I’m actually opening up a medical marijuana office in Oakwood for recommendations this next month. I think that it’s a very positive thing. But there also has to come other stipulations with that, as in it’s no longer probable cause in the city as well. Because I’ve seen that be a double-edged sword. So you can make something legal but then the cops can still railroad you and pull you over. But even if they smell a little bit, even if you’re not smoking. So if it’s implemented in the correct way, it’s a very positive thing because it’ll make it so that minorities aren’t targeted as much. And that’s a very productive thing for all the community because all it does is cost money.”

Ralph Shear (Sarah Franks)

Tracy Warren-

“It would be a positive because I think honestly it’s the safest drug … There’s some that can handle it, there’s some use for medical purposes like me. I suffer from pancreatitis, and diabetes. I’m not the kind to use blunt after blunt. I just take a hit, and it will be cool. I think it will be a positive. Realistically they’ve probably been doing it for years, so I think it’ll be a positive.”

Tracy Warren (Sarah Franks)

Dr. Ken Schultz

“If the state wants to do that, fine. But it’s not an issue for the city. It’s not very practical. Constitutionally, I don’t think it’s an issue that is under the privy of the city. What’s legal and what’s illegal are state laws. They’re really not even federal laws, by the way, it’s not really a federal issue either. Constitution sets up that the state decides what the laws are. The city does ordinances, the city wants to say what the parking signs are, fine, that’s not a state issue. As far as criminal behavior, that’s a state issue. That’s the way the system is supposed to work. I think it’s unconstitutional … I think it’s the wrong way to approach the problem.”

Amber Scott

“I think it would be positive. I mean, weed isn’t really bad. I don’t see any negative effects of it, as long as it’s controlled. I think it would help a lot of addicts with their recovery and what if they could use something like that instead of being put on (Buprenorphine) and other things that lead to them still using.”

Amber Scott (Sarah Franks)

Tony Rowlett

“Very positive. You’re not going to have all the jail overcrowding. One, it would save them money on sending people to jail and two you just have a lot happier people, really. I’m a bouncer at Ned Pepper’s, I’ve been here for 18 years, and I’d much rather have people smoking than drunk.”

Tony Rowlett (Sarah Franks)

Dylan Hardin

“I think all drugs should be legal. Because I think people that are addicted to drugs should be treated as patients and not as criminals. I think all drugs should be legal. I’m a big fan of marijuana and legalizing it too.”

Dylan Hardin (Sarah Franks)

Nikki Collier

“Obviously it’s a positive. I just think that, I am against criminalization of drugs at all. So I think any move toward full decriminalization of addictive drugs is a good call.” 

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