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  • Kevin Elliott

Township addresses underage vaping, pot use

A pair of ordinances introduced on Monday, April 22, at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting aim to address underage use and possession of vaping products and recreational marijuana.

Bloomfield Township Police Chief Scott McCanham said the two separate ordinances are intended to address shortfalls in state law. The first of the two ordinances addresses tobacco and vapor use by minors. The second ordinance creates a tiered penalty system for underage use or possession of recreational marijuana.

“For the most part, the new ordinance is dealing with tobacco and vapor and nicotine and alternative nicotine products. It closes a loophole that state law left out,” McCanham said. “The next ordinances is a full adoption of Michigan laws regarding marijuana use for those under 21.”

McCanham said the vaping ordinance prohibits use or possession of vaping on school and public property.

Specifically, the ordinance would prohibit use of tobacco and vapor-related products on school property, including all indoor and outdoor areas regardless of whether school is in session. Violation would be punishable by a municipal civil infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $100. The proposed ordinance prohibits possession of the products by minors in any public place, including public highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks and other locations.

The tobacco/vapor ordinance would also make it a criminal misdemeanor punishable up to $500 for anyone selling or furnishing those products to a minor.

The second ordinance creates a two-tiered penalty system for minors using or possession of recreational marijuana. First violations of a person under 18 would include a fine of $100, community service and drug education counseling; second and subsequent offenses would include a fine of up to $500 and eight hours of drug education. For violations of those at least 18 years of age but under 21, only fines would apply. Possession of more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana by a person under 21 would carry a penalty of $500 and/or 90 days in jail.

Trustee David Buckley commended police chief McCanham for presenting the ordinances and encouraged continued work with community coalitions to educate the public.

“(Vaping) is the number one problem our school liaison officers see in Bloomfield Township and in Bloomfield Hills,” McCanham said. “With the increased production of marijuana, the use of liquid marijuana-related items has also increased.”

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