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Oklahoma City reduces fine, ends jail time for marijuana possession charges
The Oklahoma City Council voted Tuesday to reform City ordinances for marijuana possession, following the Police Department’s recommendation to reduce the fine and end jail time on simple possession charges.
The ordinance changes, which take effect Oct. 26, reclassified marijuana as a Class “a” offense with a maximum fine of $400.
The citations will be handled in Municipal Court in much the same way as a traffic ticket. Officers will release people at the time of the citation instead of taking them to jail.
The ordinance reforms also mean people with a state medical marijuana license won’t be cited for marijuana possession, if the amount they have is within the state’s legal limit for license-holders. The reforms also mirror the state law requirement that license-holders must always have their license with them when in possession of medical marijuana.
“These reforms are not legalization – it still isn’t legal to have marijuana in Oklahoma City unless you have a state medical marijuana license,” said Police Chief Bill Citty. “But criminal justice reforms like these help ease overcrowding in jails and prisons, allow officers to spend more time doing other important work and save taxpayer money.”
The reforms also include paraphernalia. The Council voted to reduce the maximum fine to $50 for possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
People cited for possession of marijuana would have the option of pleading guilty and paying the fine, which can be done online, by phone, by mail or in person at the Municipal Court pay window. They may also appear before a judge to plead not guilty and request a trial.
As with any City of Oklahoma City citation, Municipal Court judges have discretion to work with people who can’t afford to pay their fines. People who can’t afford to pay fines are not jailed.
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