Adults will soon be able to legally consume marijuana—but not in Peoria parks, city property or open spaces.
One week after Proposition 207 passed, Peoria City Council unanimously banned smoking, consuming or possessing recreational marijuana on city- owned property.
In addition, smoking and consuming marijuana is banned in any Peoria open space or public place where smoking cigarettes is already prohibited.
The Smart and Safe Arizona Act (Prop 207) was overwhelmingly approved, with 60% voting for legalizing recreational marijuana. It passed by more than 600,000 votes.
Provisions of 207 allow the city to amend city code to reflect the proposition’s verbiage, according to Peoria Planning Director Chris Jacques.
“The proposition also preserves the ability for cities to enact reasonable regulations to protect our health, safety and welfare,” Jacques said.
City Attorney Vanessa Hickman introduced the proposed modifications to city code, specifically the definition of “open space” to make it match the definition of open space in Proposition 207.
“Open space means a public park, public sidewalk, public walkway or public pedestrian thoroughfare,” Hickman said. “We have revised our definition of ‘public place’ to make it consistent with the definitions in Proposition 207.”
Hickman told the council a “public place” is considered an enclosed area to which the public is invited or permitted. She stressed a private residence is not a public place, unless it is used as a child care adult day care or health care facility.
Hickman highlighted the potential penalty for violation of the amended ordinance. She said breaking the amended law could lead to a petty offense, which is a criminal offence punishable by a fine, but is a class one misdemeanor.
Councilwoman Denette Dunn asked Hickman if the city website displays any actual information for residents to study in more detail. Dunn told Hickman it is important the city provide the much-needed public information.
“All of the (meeting) videos are taped so somebody could go back and watch the council meeting and pause a slide,” Jacques noted.
Dunn suggested the city be as transparent as possible regarding the implementation of the adopted city ordinance. She said residents should not have to scour the city’s website to locate such crucial information.
“I would think maybe it would need to be something more visible that they could just bring up and look like what we see here—not have to go to the council meeting and go through all that to find where we are,” Dunn said.
City Manager Jeff Tyne responded that he will work with the communications office to ensure residents had adequate accessibility to a frequently asked questions (FAQ) sheet.
Dunn asked Hickman to clarify that marijuana will be legal to use at a private residence.
“Yes, that is correct, unless they’re disturbing the peace or committing some other infraction of the code,” Hickman said.
Otherwise, he continued, “They would be perfectly within their rights to do so.”