October is one of those months in which a variety of law-enforcement issues are coming to a head. In just the past week, state prisons began the first-ever transfer of some 11,000 inmates to county jails, and federal attorneys launched a crackdown on medical marijuana collectives and their landlords.
So it seems like the perfect time to ask a question that, on the surface, appears to be inextricably tied to law enforcement but isn’t so in reality: What should the police and/or a community do when a large number of people at a community event are found smoking marijuana for recreational purposes?
Neighborhood Council Concerned
This very issue was raised last week at the monthly board meeting of the . Several members of the council commented—with varying degrees of analysis and alarm—about the blatant and rampant use of marijuana at the Oct. 1 Eagle Rock Music Festival.
As just about anyone who walked on Colorado Boulevard at the height of the festival can testify, the air was thick with the pungent aroma of weed. And the fact that marijuana was being smoked not too far from the areas where programs for children were underway was a matter of particular concern that figured at the Oct. 4 ERNC meeting.
Is the Eagle Rock Music Festival Becoming "The New Rave Party"?
This year’s music festival attracted a record number of people, according to a recent newsletter sent out by the . Partly because there was no Sunset Junction Street Fair this year, the Eagle Rock Music Festival became “the new rave party,” said ERNC President Michael Larsen, presenting a very plausible argument, given that recreational use of marijuana was sporadic at best during the 2010 music festival.
And yet, despite the constant presence of dozens of LAPD officers, not one arrest for the unlawful use of marijuana in public appears to have been made.
Regardless of how the federal sweep against medical marijuana collectives plays out in the weeks and months to come, we at Eagle Rock Patch think it’s in the community’s interest to debate and address the issue of marijuana use in what happens to be not just Eagle Rock’s but one of L.A.’s largest and most talked-about public events.
What Can the Community Do?
To set the ball rolling, we’ll ask the first questions (we invite further questions from our readers): What do you think is the best way to address the smoking of weed during the 2012 Eagle Rock Music Festival?
Would an outright ban on smoking act as a deterrent, especially given that public disapproval of any kind of smoking would tend to be fairly strong? Or should the recreational use of marijuana primarily be a matter of law and order, replete with detentions and arrests?
Share your views in the Comments box below.