Tonight during the Township's regular meeting Council will have a first read and consideration of an ordinance that aims to lessen the penalties for marijuana in Plymouth Township. The proposed ordinance was discussed in the Council's Workshop on 12/7/2020. Chief Myrsiades explained this change is aimed at those first time and youth offenders who are found to have small amounts of marijuana in their possession, have paraphernalia, or those who are found to be smoking marijuana.
The proposed changes will lower the penalty for first-time offenders to $25 for possession of marijuana, $25 for being in possession of paraphernalia, and $100 for smoking marijuana.
Currently, the only option Plymouth Township Officers have is to file a criminal complaint, this change will provide our law enforcement with options when considering the individual circumstances. Chief Myrsiades added the current process has our officers hand-strung and forces them to go to the criminal complaint route.
Chief Myrsiades further explained, the changes proposed are adapted to meet our community's needs and reflect current societal trends. The amounts proposed are synced with the Controlled Substance Drug Device and Cosmetic Act.
Council President Chris Manero asked if data was available to assist the Council in seeing how current laws have impacted our population. Chief Myrsiades explained everything Plymouth Police does is data-driven and while current data is available to reflect the impact of current laws on different demographics he would need a year after the changes went into effect to provide useful data to analyze how the changes are making a difference.
Chief Myrsiades further explained he felt these changes would work well with the District Attorney's Officer and their Youth Aid Panel which works with Kids. Chief Myrsiades added, as most first time offenders are youth this will not decriminalize marijuana but provide options and a common-sense approach.
Chief Myrsiades noted these changes will not apply to our offenses that occur in our schools. While other Municipalities have included schools in their definition of a "public place", the Chief stated he felt that was not good precedence to set with the schools, in Plymouth Township you are dealing with elementary and middle schools.
The proposed ordinance has not been posted at this time for public view. The Meeting will take place on Monday, December 14. 2020 starting at 6:30p. You can locate the link to the Zoom meeting here. You can find the meeting agenda here.
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