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Lakeville Town Meeting On Public Smoking June 15

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
The annual Town Meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 15 at 7 p.m. in the Apponequet High School auditorium.


Police Chief Mark Sorel wants to make sure people don’t interpret the new state law decriminalizing possession of a small amount of marijuana as a license to smoke pot in public.

“A person can actually walk up to us smoking a joint and only face a $100 fine,” Sorel said.

He is proposing a bylaw banning marijuana use in public and imposing a $300 fine on violators.

“It’s so they’re not blatantly throwing it in our face,” Sorel said.
Sorel compared the proposed ban to the existing bylaw prohibiting consumption of alcohol in public places.

“We have a bylaw for open drinking,” he said.

The proposed pot bylaw will come before voters at the annual Town Meeting on June 15.

Bridgewater is among dozens of municipalities in the commonwealth pursuing similar legislation in the wake of November’s successful ballot initiative decriminalizing possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

The new state law reclassified the previously criminal offense as a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine. The ballot question also included a provision forbidding the imposition of any additional penalties on top of the $100 fine.

But Sorel said he is not proposing an additional penalty for possession. The activity he is targeting is smoking in public.

“This is regarding actual use in front of us, not just possession,” Sorel said.
Sorel said Lakeville has not had a problem with people smoking marijuana in public. But he doesn’t want it to come to that.

“We’re just preventing it,” he said

The state ballot question included a provision expressly permitting municipalities to pass ordinances or bylaws prohibiting the public use of marijuana, according to the Secretary of State’s Web site.

The town’s proposed bylaw is based on a model bylaw released by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

The bylaw, article 25 on the annual Town Meeting warrant, states in part: “No person shall smoke, ingest or otherwise use or consume marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the main psychoactive substance in marijuana) while in or upon any street, sidewalk, public way, footway, passageway, stairs, bridge, park, playground, beach, recreation area, boat landing, public building, schoolhouse, school grounds, cemetery, parking lot or any area owned by or under the control of the town; or in or upon any bus or other passenger conveyance operated by a common carrier; or in any place accessible to the public.”

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