City passes marijuana resolution

By hh339 · Jun 26, 2006 · ·
  1. hh339
    WEST HOLLYWOOD - This little city has some big political ideas.

    It was one of the first cities in the nation to ban indoor smoking in public places and to call for businesses to offer benefits to domestic partners of employees.

    Now the enclave of coffee shops, bookstores and nightclubs wedged between Hollywood and Beverly Hills has aimed its lance at marijuana law with a nonbinding resolution urging deputies that patrol the city to go easy on pot smokers.

    "We didn't declare it legal, but declared the sheriff should spend more time pursuing people that do more serious crimes," said Hernan G. Molina, deputy to Councilman John J. Duran, who sponsored the resolution.

    The resolution is unlikely to have a major impact on its own. But taken with successful ballot measures in bigger cities like Denver and Seattle that limit punishment for possessing small amounts of marijuana, it reflects what could be a shifting attitude across the country.

    "The municipalities are moving ahead of the feds," said Patrick Murphy, a drug policy expert at the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco.

    "We're starting to see some folks that are saying the laws on the books are still on the books, but maybe we're going to treat them a little differently. And maybe that's a precursor to getting them off the books," Murphy said.

    The West Hollywood City Council on Monday unanimously declared that it's not city policy to target marijuana possession and consumption by adults in their homes. It did, however, urge the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which patrols the city, to keep pursuing dealers, young users and people who smoke pot in public.

    It was the latest in a series of moves that have put the city ahead of the political curve - and sometimes completely off the chart - since its incorporation in 1984.

    Known for its gay community, the city of 35,000 people was one of the first in the country to recognize domestic partnerships. It was a leader in supporting medical marijuana use and outlawing the sale of Saturday night specials - the small, cheap handguns that city leaders said contribute to violent crime.

    One city resolution urged Congress to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.

    The marijuana resolution was also meant to send a message.

    "Marijuana should be legalized and regulated," Molina said. "In order for the federal government to get it, smaller communities have to start doing things to send the message upward."

    On the ground in West Hollywood, residents and authorities said little was likely to change as a result of the resolution.

    One reason is the city does not directly oversee the Sheriff's Department. Instead, it contracts with the agency rather than fielding its own police department.

    Another is the resolution won't supersede state and federal drug laws that don't require the arrest of people found with less than an ounce of the drug.

    Only 139 of the 6,900 drug offenses reported in the area from Jan. 1, 2005, to Jan. 31, 2006, resulted in marijuana citations, said sheriff's Capt. David J. Long, commander of the West Hollywood substation.

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  1. robin_himself
    US: Marijuana: West Hollywood Passes "Lowest Priority" Resolution

    A further look!

    The West Hollywood, CA, City Council voted Monday night to approve a
    resolution calling on Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies to not
    "target adult marijuana users who consume this drug in private and pose
    no danger to the community." Although it is nonbinding, the resolution
    sends a strong message to LA County Sheriff Joe Baca about how the city
    of 35,000 wants its laws enforced.

    West Hollywood now becomes the first Southern California city to adopt a
    "lowest law enforcement priority" measure toward marijuana similar to
    Oakland's successful 2004 Proposition Z initiative. But it may not be
    the last this year. Similar "lowest priority" measures are slated to go
    to the voters in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Santa Monica in November.

    The resolution was introduced by Councilman John Duran, and passed on a
    4-0 vote. Duran and the council acted after local activists organized in
    the West Hollywood Civil Liberties Alliance filed a petition to put a
    lowest priority initiative to the popular vote. Given that city
    officials viewed LA County Sheriff Joe Baca as already not making
    marijuana law enforcement a high priority, and fearful of costs and
    "inflexibilities" associated with a ballot initiative, the council
    agreed to address the issue via a resolution after consulting with the

    The resolution says "be it resolved that the City Council of the City of
    West Hollywood hereby declares that it is not the policy of the City or
    its law enforcement agency to target possession of small amounts of
    marijuana and the consumption of marijuana in private by adults."

    "Marijuana, you know, a joint or two is just so far down on the scale it
    doesn't seem worthwhile to allocate any sources to the enforcement of
    the marijuana laws," said Duran. "We've seen that marijuana use is
    certainly no more dangerous and destructive than alcohol use," Duran
    said. "The whole 'reefer madness' hysteria has worn thin."

    While Sheriff Baca and his deputies may not be prowling West Hollywood
    for pot smokers, the agency is unsurprisingly not happy to be told how
    to do its job. Some Sheriff's Office officials were among the few public
    opponents of the resolution, and City Councilman Joe Prang, who is a
    high Baca advisor, abstained on the vote.

    But Baca was being politic Monday afternoon. "We certainly in my office
    understand what pressure is," he told the Los Angeles Times, suggesting
    city officials were besieged by pot legalizers. "My belief is that the
    city needs to have its voice heard on the matter, and the question will
    remain to what extent is this resolution binding. We will look at it for
    all of our pluses and minuses and advise the City Council as to our

    If the department decides it will not comply with the resolution, the
    city could terminate its $10 million annual contract to provide law
    enforcement services and seek another department to replace the
    Sheriff's Department. But that is unlikely, Duran told the Times. "That
    would put us in an awkward situation," he said."
  2. rocco_blitz
    Swim thinks that this could be a good step in the de-criminalation laws on pot.Swim has read that in some states a person caught with little amounts such as a roach or a j then whamo of to the jail for 7 to 14 days.Swim thinks that pot should be lagal as alot of things should be.Swim is not tyring to be political but thinks big brother should spend time and the u.s. tax payers money on other stuff like murders,terrerist,stuff like that.Swim also thinks what a person does in the privatency of his/hers home (smoking,snorting,i.v,i.m. the list goes on and on should be left alone especially if these people are not raising hell or are being halfminded and letting everyone in the hood no what youre up to.Swim thinks that the laws in the states should shift towards the ones in amsterdam where there is little crimes related towards drugs.................
  3. robin_himself
    Watch out... Amsterdam and the rest of holland isn't drug paradise! Only the attetude towards weed is very different, we use the "regulations" methode. But other drugs are still just as illegal as in other places.
  4. rocco_blitz
    Sorry robin himself as swim doesnt know much about the laws in the netherlands,just has heard of em and is probably been misinformed about them through some people that have been there.They tell swim ohh you wouldnt beleive the stuff thats tolorated there,they mad it sound like a drug paradise and of course it sounds good,but swim really didnt mean it that way when he said that the laws in the states should shift towards the ones of amsterdam.He was suggesting that the pot laws should be on the same system as the ones there in amsterdam,Swim just thinks that the laws in the states on pot should be decrimilized,a person should not get thrown in jail and have his/hers name all in the pappers for a simple small amount......Anyway swim thanks you for youre info on the regulation input.....
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