Glouster, Jacksonville and Trimble communities all voted to decriminalize marijuana within the municipalities, according to unofficial results from the Athens County Board of Elections.
All three measures were organized by the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws Appalachia of Ohio. Each are also similar to ballot items that have been passed in the cities of Nelsonville and Athens.
The decriminalizing measure will reduce penalties for misdemeanor marijuana offenses to the lowest allowed by law. In Athens, the ordinance lowered the cost of misdemeanor marijuana citations within the city limits to $0, including no court costs. This applies to possession of up to 200 grams of marijuana, possession of 10 grams of hash, cultivation of up to 200 grams of marijuana, gifts of up to 20 grams of marijuana and possession and sale of paraphernalia, which includes items like pipes, bowls and grinders.
A similar measure passed in 2016 in the city of Logan.
The measure would also place marijuana offenses as one of the lowest priorities for law enforcement, leaving them more latitude to address higher-stakes issues.
In Nelsonville, the shift to not focus on marijuana has resulted in the newest member of the police department, K9 Attila, being trained to not alert for the drug.
In August, Don Keeney, executive director of NORML Appalachia of Ohio, noted that Trimble received an 100 percent validation rate for the signatures on its petition; Glouster had a 65 percent validation rate; and Jacksonville reached 85 percent.
“Those are unheard of numbers,” Keeney said. “People are very open to this. The support has been very good.”
This makes Athens County the most de-penalized county in the state. Lucas County is next, with three municipalities having similar measures on the books.