Avon town meeting to be asked to toughen marijuana laws
Those caught smoking marijuana in public would cough up hundreds of dollars more in fines if residents at town meeting on Wednesday approve a local bylaw that is tougher than state marijuana possession laws.
In January, the state decriminalized possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, making it punishable by a $100 civil penalty and forfeiture of the contraband.
However, Police Chief Warren Phillips is proposing a bylaw that would hit those caught smoking marijuana in public places, including on streets and sidewalks, with additional fines of $100, $200 and $300 for first, second and subsequent offenses, respectively.
Chris Delano, volunteer coordinator with the Avon Coalition for Every Student, or ACES, a town-wide coalition to combat youth drug and alcohol use, said the group supports the bylaw.
Delano said people mistakenly believe that the 2008 ballot question decriminalizing possession made marijuana legal. She said she is concerned because a marijuana smoker can roll as many as 56 joints from an ounce of pot.
“If people can be caught with 56 joints and not have a lot of repercussions, my fear is that will make marijuana more accessible to youth. The smalltime dealers may get bolder and get more accessible to the youth,” she said.
Residents will also be asked to impose a 0.75-percent local tax on restaurant meals, which would be in addition to the state’s 6.25-percent meals tax.
Special town meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Avon Middle/High School.
By Mike Melanson
Posted Sep 08, 2009 @ 03:22 AM
Last update Sep 08, 2009 @ 09:34 AM