Salem residents to vote on decriminalization of marijuana within city limits

SALEM, W.Va. (WDTV) -- The decriminalization of marijuana will be on the June ballot for Salem residents.

According to the Sensible Movement Coalition, the group gathered enough signatures for city residents to vote on whether to move the penalty for small amounts of marijuana to the lowest allowed by state law within city limits.

The "yes" or "no" vote will be on the ballot for the June 4th municipal election.

UPDATE
This summer, the city of Salem could make the move to decriminalize marijuana

It's important to remember that this legislation would not legalize marijuana- by decriminalizing the drug those caught with a small amount of the drug will face the lowest penalty allowed under state law.

The ordinance was announce during Salem's city council meeting after the West Virginia Sensible Movement Coalition was able to collect hundred of signatures.

Troy Thompson, a resident in the area, says he thinks moving forward with this ordinance could help fight the ongoing opioid crisis.

"I really think they should move forward with it, for more than one reason." "One, the tops reason mainly, to get rid of the opioid usage that's going on around here," Thompson said

Haley Shanholtz also hopes a move like this could aid the fight against harder drugs in the area.

"I can agree to the decriminalizing it because I don't think we should be wasting our taxpayer money- and I hate to say wasting- our taxpayer money on holding people in who have been caught with marijuana when we should be focusing more on the opioids and heroin and things like that," Shanholtz said

However, Shanholtz says she is not in support of full legalization

"I don't think we should be legalizing that when I still feel like it is a gateway drug and opening up a door to a lot of younger people to other drugs,"

David Gomes, who is against the ordinance said he thinks it sets a bad example for kids in the area.

"I'm very strongly against it because, you know, there's a lot of kids in the area," "I wouldn't want my kids to walk outside and be smelling marijuana," Gomes said

The initiative will be placed on the city's ballot for the June 4th election.