Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pot set as low police priority in Hailey

For cops, itís business as usual


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Hailey's Marijuana Oversight Committee won a symbolic victory Monday when Mayor Rick Davis announced that smoking pot on private property was officially the lowest police priority in town.

"This has not been easy, but I think that we have come up with something that works for those on both sides of this issue," Davis said at a City Council meeting.

"The Food and Drug Administration has always been the governing body on substances that can become addictive, and if marijuana is ever legalized, I hope it will follow the same process."

Hailey municipal code now reads, "The Hailey Police Department shall investigate and enforce misdemeanor possession of marijuana offenses committed by adults on private property as the lowest police priority of the city of Hailey."

However, if an officer has knowledge of any other type of criminal offense occurring on private property, he or she is entitled to enforce marijuana laws there as well.

The policy does not apply to use of pot in public, by minors or while driving.

"This means that Hailey police will not go out and actively look for people smoking pot on private property, but they never have," Davis said in an interview.

The Marijuana Oversight Committee was formed last year after three controversial marijuana initiatives were passed by Hailey voters—twice.

The initiatives proposed allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, legalizing industrial hemp and making enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for Hailey police.

Large portions of all three ordinances were redacted by 5th District Judge Robert Elgee, rendering them ineffective, but the oversight committee was formed and charged with gathering information and making recommendations to the City Council on how the city should handle several issues regarding marijuana policy.

In other Hailey news:

· The Council denied a request from ARCH Community Housing Trust that the city pay $8,000 for sidewalks required as part of ARCH's Walnut Street affordable housing project, but allowed the sidewalks to be built elsewhere and at some point in the future.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com






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