Village to prepare guidelines for newly legal marijuana

By: Linda Shepard | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 20, 2018


BEVERLY HILLS — The recent passage of a state marijuana ballot proposal brings questions to local community officials.

According to Proposal 1, passed Nov. 6, state law now allows residents 21 and older the ability to legally smoke marijuana and carry up to 2.5 ounces on their person away from their home. Residents also can grow up to a dozen marijuana plants, up to a 10-ounce limit.

There was a “sea change,”  Beverly Hills Village Attorney Thomas Ryan said at the Dec. 4 Village Council meeting. “It is going to be a new day, a new era in trying to deal with this.”

Ryan said the real issue is the level of impairment in relation to the operation of a motor vehicle.

“Marijuana stays in the system for 45 days,” he said. “If you are believed to be in impairment, you can be prosecuted. Colorado has the most experience, but there is a learning curve, and they are coming up with a qualitative test for it in the system.”

A minor younger than 21 cannot legally use marijuana. “But it is (now) decriminalized to a misdemeanor,” Ryan said. “The issue will be facts and circumstances. Any current criminal case for adults will likely be dismissed — now it has been deemed inappropriate to waste resources on this.”

“We will follow the law,” Beverly Hills Department of Public Safety Lt. Howard Shock said. “Before, it was an arrestable offence. We are used to following changes in the law. They occur more frequently than people think.     

“Our main responsibility is protecting people’s constitutional rights,” Shock said. “For years now, we have been enforcing drunk driving. If (drivers) don’t have the ability to operate their car, it may lead to an arrest. We will continue to follow that enforcement, from a drunk driving perspective. It is about educating our people when new laws come into place.”

Beverly Hills Village Manager Chris Wilson said the village Planning Commission is currently looking into guidelines and protocols that will be recommended to the Village Council.

“We do have to pass an active resolution,” Wilson said.

“We are going to deal with it as a community,” Beverly Hills Village Councilman John George said. “And I want to make sure we explore the issue.”