Housh said this is something the village has been working on for a long time. Yellow Springs Police Chief Brian Carlson said the number of minor misdemeanor drug offenses in the village have plummeted over the last few years and there have been zero charges in 2020.
“We are not using the heavy arm of the law when dealing with marijuana use,” he said. “I know that the officers are on the right track.”
Carlson clarified that this law change doesn’t create a “free for all frenzy” regarding marijuana use in the village. People should still refrain from using marijuana in public or operating a motor vehicle under the influence, he said.
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers and Greene County Sheriff’s deputies are not obligated to charge people applying village ordinances and may still charge individuals possessing marijuana in the village with misdemeanors under state law. Breanne Parcels, the village solicitor, said the village can’t prevent those departments from applying state law but will attempt to educate them about the local ordinance and ask them to charge accordingly.
Housh said this is part of a larger push by the village council to decriminalize minor offenses and achieve greater racial equity in the village. He said the council plans to decriminalize minor traffic offenses such as a busted tail light or a rolling stop next.