Ohio cities that need to end license suspensions
Ohio law requires a mandatory six-month drivers’ license suspension for marijuana and paraphernalia possession.
However, this state law only applies to the unincorporated areas of the state. Under constitutional home rule powers, Ohio municipalities set their own penalties for misdemeanor drug offenses that are not related to driving.
The result is a hodgepodge of penalties.
- Cleveland, Toledo and Dayton never suspend drivers’ licenses.
- Columbus and Cincinnati always suspend.
- Mayor’s Courts have no authority to suspend driver’s licenses for drug offenses — but sometimes do out of ignorance.
- Municipalities that contract with W.H. Drane to update their local codes rarely have mandatory suspensions.
- Municipalities that contract with American Legal Publishing to do the same thing almost always have laws that require mandatory suspensions.
Driver’s license suspensions for marijuana possession is on the way out.
The Ohio legislature passed a resolution in December 2014 to begin the process of “opting out” of a federal mandate, passed in 1992, that requires the state to suspend licenses for drug possession or lose some of its federal highway funding.
However, the change will take several years to complete. In the meantime, several hundred thousand Ohioans will lose their driver’s licenses for no good reason.
The municipalities that suspend driver’s licenses cover 45% of the state’s population and should change their local laws immediately to end the destructive practice of license suspensions for possession or marijuana or paraphernalia.