The city of Toledo, OH recently passed a cannabis decriminalization measure that reduced possession charges to no jail time and no fine (for up to 200 grams). Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, no fan of cannabis to begin with, is now suing the city, saying the new ordinance violates state law.
"This ordinance encourages drug cartels to set up marijuana distribution operations in Toledo with less fear of prison or penalties," DeWine said in a press release. "Absent legal action, it is not hard to imagine international drug rings making Toledo their regional base of operations."
While this is quite a heavy-handed attempt at fear-mongering, Dewine does have a point when it comes to the black market. Without decriminalization and legalization in the rest of the state, drug dealers would have incentive to set up shop in Toledo to sell to the rest of the state. But the solution to this problem is ultimately legalization, which will bring prices down enough to undercut the black market and drive illegal dealers out of business.
Dewine wants the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas to throw out parts of the new ordinance, which passed with 70% of the vote. He also wants the entire ordinance delayed until the case is decided.
The problem at the core is that half-measures when it comes to marijuana law reform are good in the short term, but cannot last (and sometimes never get started). Once cannabis is fully legal in the US, then it’s legal. Laws will vary from state to state, but there will be no more debates or fights about whether it’s legal, for any purpose. Just like alcohol.
Cannabis not being legal in Ohio is the only thing that allows Dewine to sue the city. Half-measures cannot stand on their own; full legalization is the ultimate fix.