Police: Logan Marijuana Ordinance Won’t Have ‘Huge Impact’

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The proposed ordinance that would reduce the penalties for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Logan is on the ballot on Tuesday, and the role these new regulations would have on the police has been a topic of discussion.

But Logan Police Department captain Scott Mingus does not see the passage of the ordinance having a huge impact on how LPD performs their job.

“There’s a city ordinance and there’s also state code,” Mingus said. “This ordinance wouldn’t supersede state code so it really wouldn’t have a dramatic effect or anything.”

Mingus said that the department issues a fair amount of marijuana citations, but that is not the number one offense for which they cite people.

The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) of Southeast Ohio is the group that petitioned to have the ordinance on the ballot. On flyers distributed by the group, they say two motivations for the ordinance are to “reduce jail overcrowding” and “allow police to work on higher priority issues.”

Mingus, however, doesn’t see those as valid reasons to support the decriminalization of marijuana in the city.

“Marijuana citations are just that, a citation,” Mingus said. “We don’t put people in jail for simply possessing marijuana. If we put somebody in jail it’s typically because they’re trafficking or something like that. I don’t know what (NORML is) referring to when (they) refers to overcrowding as far as marijuana possession.”

So while Mingus doesn’t see the local ordinance as having a big impact on police work, he does think the impact of State Issue 3 will have a much larger scope in regards to how the station operates.

“There’s 12 million people in the state of Ohio and if there’s an uptick of two percent, let’s say, of vehicle accidents or something like that, that would be concerning,” Mingus said. “But no, this ordinance is not really causing…a huge change as far as that goes.”

Mingus cited the increase in drug issues and related problems as reasons to be concerned, but said that the department will be able to adapt to the changes. Mingus also said that while he doesn’t anticipate his job becoming much different, he does not know what to expect.

“There’s no litmus test you can compare this to know exactly what’s going to happen. Other states that allow this sort of thing are much smaller and less congested so I guess we’ll all just wait and see what’s going to happen.”