By Sharon Coolidge

Cincinnati City Councilman David Mann has expressed concern about council's plan to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. So Monday he proposed a whittled-down alternative.

Mann wants to limit possession to 32 grams (a little more than an ounce) and to people 21 or older. Public use also would be illegal. A decriminalization proposal under consideration by council does not contain an age limit or reference allowing marijuana in public places.

A proposal to decriminalize possession to up to 100 grams or roughly 3.5 ounces of marijuana is set to come before council Wednesday and has the support of 7 members.

Mann based his proposal on marijuana laws in the 10 states where recreational use is legal. His legislation could be ready for a Wednesday vote, meaning it would be presented as an alternative.

After the decriminalization measure failed to pass last week in council, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters cautioned possessing 100 grams or less was simply still too much, he wrote in a letter to council members dated May 17.

"As you probably know, I have supported the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana in the past," he wrote. "However, I feel these levels of weight are too high in terms of personal use."

With a limit of 100 grams, it could be difficult for prosecutors to prove other charges like trafficking in drugs, Deters said.

"I would urge council to meet with police and prosecutors to determine a minimal amount to decriminalize," the letter went on to say.

Council members say they want to decriminalize weed so people who possess it for personal use aren't arrested and caught up in the criminal justice system, which can prevent people from getting jobs or housing.

A joint contains roughly 0.32 grams of marijuana. So 100 grams of marijuana would be about 312 joints. An ounce is 28 grams.

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