Think of the children
City Council is considering an ordinance that levies municipal penalties if someone younger than 18 is caught with marijuana paraphernalia, minus MMJ patients. Minors found with anything "used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, composting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, vaporizing, or containing marijuana, or for ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana into the human body" face fines of up to $500 and/or probation, the same maximum punishment as any other juvenile violation of city code, according to Frederick Stein, public safety attorney with the city attorney's office.
That list casts a wide net, but it's the same terminology used in the extant state law that bans people younger than 21 from possessing weed paraphernalia. The maximum state fine is $100 for a first offense.
Councilor Tom Strand noted that vape pens are one of the major concerns behind the ordinance, suggesting that it may be difficult to tell a vape pen from an ink pen — and there are a few products like that on the market. Police are equipped with field test kits for marijuana residue, and the text of the ordinance says a positive field test is prima facie evidence.
While this ordinance appears to be a legitimate effort to punish young pot users, the city does not levy its own penalties for under-18 drinkers, despite the health risk. Whether this ordinance may reduce youth marijuana use or simply burden our courts is yet to be seen.
Council will do a first reading of the ordinance during its meeting scheduled for Dec. 8.
• On Nov. 18, we reported that a change.org petition demanding Acting DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg be fired for calling medical marijuana a joke had passed 87,000 signatures. The next day, seven members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to President Barack Obama stating that Rosenberg's statements "demonstrate [he] is not the right person to lead the DEA." Those signers are Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.; Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; Sam Farr, D-Calif.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Ted Lieu, D-Calif.; and Jim McDermott, D-Wash. Taken alongside the 128,139 petition signers as of press time, Rosenberg's career is looking bleaker by the day.
• R&B sensation Rihanna will not release a line of cannabis products in early 2016. A report from 18KaratReggae.com claimed she announced the line at the High Times Cannabis Cup in Negril, Jamaica. Her publicist dismissed the claim in an interview with NYMag.com. Sadly, MaRihanna's Karibbean Kush, Haitian Haze and Jamaican High Grade are but pipe dreams.