Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Youths charged with marijuana use

Acceptable use for adults lands teens in juvenile court

Hailey police charged eight teenagers with marijuana crimes after they were caught smoking the controlled substance on Wednesday, April 6. Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter said the arrest was made after police responded to a call to Blaine County dispatch reporting that teenagers had entered the yard of a "vacant house" in south Woodside.

Gunter said the teens, seven of whom were charged with smoking marijuana and one who was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, were released to the custody of their parents after their run-in with Hailey police at 4 p.m. The drug-use cases and the paraphernalia possession case will be referred to juvenile court for review, Gunter said.

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Gunter said the teens, ranging in age from 14 to 17, could also have been charged with trespassing, but he said the marijuana charges were sufficient to initiate appropriate punishment for the alleged crime. He said the youths had been found smoking marijuana in an enclosed porch attached to a Woodside house. He said the home may be in foreclosure status and was therefore unoccupied.

Gunter said Hailey police would have taken no action if the alleged marijuana smokers had been adults in a private home. A 2010 city ordinance makes adult marijuana smoking in a home a "lowest priority" offense in Hailey.

"Basically, adults can smoke marijuana in their own home," Gunter said.

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