New Hope, Brooklyn Center, Crystal Move to Ban Public Cannabis Use
New Hope, Brooklyn Center and Crystal are joining a growing group of cities that have banned the use of cannabis in public spaces.
All three cities moved forward with their cannabis ban ordinances this week.
The Crystal City Council approved an interim ordinance and will likely consider a more permanent law in the near future.
The Brooklyn Center City Council approved a first reading of an ordinance. The second reading is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Meanwhile, the New Hope City Council approved an amendment to the city’s existing laws.
The new ordinances aim to keep people from smoking in public places such as parks or downtown sidewalks.
Many cities have passed ordinances banning the public use of marijuana since the state legalized adult cannabis use. The state law went into effect on Aug. 1.
When the state legislature approved the adult cannabis law, it left decisions about use on public property up to local jurisdictions.
‘We’re just looking for compliance’
New Hope Police Chief Tim Hoyt said that he hasn’t seen a significant jump in public cannabis use since the law went into effect.
“I can tell you, we haven’t seen much of a change,” he said. “I mean, it’s pretty much been the same as it has been for the last five years, through the decriminalization of marijuana over the last 10 to 15 years.”
Intoxicated driving remains illegal under the new law. Likewise, state law prohibits drivers from having open marijuana products in their vehicle.
“Our officers are busy,” Hoyt said. “We’re just looking for compliance. We’re not going to be necessarily going out there an looking for people, actively looking for people smoking marijuana in a parking lot. If we are called, we’ll act on it.”
The maximum penalty for smoking marijuana in a public space is a petty misdemeanor.
“Cities are scrambling right now to try to come up with some sort of an ordinance,” said New Hope City Council Member John Elder. “I think this goes a long way to meeting people’s concerns about, you know, walking down Winnetka and having to breathe in other peoples’ marijuana smoke.”