Marijuana Smoker - File Photo

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VILLAS – Lower Township Council introduced an ordinance banning marijuana smoking in public places, which includes private beaches, according to Lower Township Attorney David Stefankiewicz.

Penalties for violation would include a written warning for the first offense, a $250 to $500 fine for a second offense, and a $500 to $1,000 fine for a third offense.

“Just like anyone under 21 cannot consume alcohol in public, marijuana also cannot be consumed in public,” Mayor Frank Sippel said.

Diamond Beach resident James Sanford questioned whether the ordinance, if approved, would include private beaches owned by hotels or residents.

Stefankiewicz said he believed it would, while Sippel said they would investigate it further.

The second reading and possible adoption of the ordinance is scheduled to occur at the May 3 council meeting, at Town Hall, 2600 Bayshore Road, Villas, at 5 p.m.

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