Council Votes to Open 30-Day Comment Period for Proposed Ordinance on Recreational Marijuana Use

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As the topic of recreational marijuana use has become more popular in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the SRPMIC has been requesting feedback from members on medical and recreational marijuana use. The Council has proposed a new ordinance and voted to open a public comment period lasting for 30 days.

According to SRPMIC Assistant General Counsel Jeff Harmon, Council wanted to have something tangible that the Community membership could look at and think about while they’re gaining feedback on the topic.

“The draft [ordinance] does a few things because this is something that’s been needed for a while,” said Harmon. “This is a proposed ordinance related to comprehensive drug and drug-related offenses, because right now all of our drug provisions with respect to the criminal law are contained in 6-121 of the code, so that’s a lot of stuff to be contained in one code provision.”

The draft ordinance adds clarity and enhances some of the definitions within the provision, and it creates separate offenses for different categories of drugs.

“So, a dangerous drug might have its own offense versus a narcotic drug or a vapor-releasing substance, which is commonly known as ‘huffing,’” said Harmon.

“Drug paraphernalia, pipes, anything used for the smoking or administration of illegal drugs—those are also illegal, but that’s probably a different class than, say, methamphetamine. So what [the proposed ordinance] does is create multiple statutes to address each one of those types of drugs.”

Harmon said that after gathering the feedback from the Community at Community-only meetings and District meetings, Council might want to treat a substance like fentanyl differently than a substance used for huffing.

Of the proposed ordinance, Harmon said that he thinks the biggest and most interesting piece is allowing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

“Whether that ends up getting enacted or not will be seen,” said Harmon.

“This [ordinance] is a little more targeted than in the past. It [previously] was generalized information and presented for general Community feedback,” Harmon said. “Then it kind of moved towards the focus of whether medical marijuana should be enacted or not, and that eventually did get enacted. So now this focus is more on the recreational use, and it pretty much mirrors the same standards that the state of Arizona has.”

The public comment period for the proposed ordinance ends on February 27. The full text of the ordinance can be found at https://www.srpmic-nsn.gov/government/ogc/proposed-ordinances/.

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