DeKalb County city wants to ban e-cigarettes, decriminalize marijuana

A DeKalb County city mayor wants to ban e-cigarette smoking indoors and decriminalize possession of marijuana.

Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry and the city's public safety committee discussed on Thursday the consequences of marijuana possession, which Terry said arrests for are an inefficient use of police resources.

Now, a new proposal on e-cigarettes calls for strengthening Clarkston’s current tobacco ordinance, according to Channel 2 Action News.

The smoking ban would extend to all forms of smoking, including traditional cigarettes and hookahs.

“The No. 1 public health threat in America right now is related to tobacco,” Terry told Channel 2. “We feel like it is time to update it based on what is happening in the market place.”

Some DeKalb County residents told the television station they agree with the mayor.

“They should get rid of it,” Aden Kebebe said of banning all smoke.

But another resident disagreed.

“I think it will be a bad idea because it would take away people’s businesses,” Mounir Botoreh said.

Terry cited a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences about the chemicals in e-cigarettes that backs up his belief.

Researchers found there are more than 7,000 e-cigarette flavors on the market and they can cause serve respiratory problems, such as "popcorn lung," which the Center for Disease Control categorizes as a flavorings-related lung disease.

“It creates, like, bubbles basically in your lungs, so it’s a horrible condition,” the mayor said.

Terry said he wants to make sure it’s no longer a crime to have less than an ounce of marijuana.

The Clarkston Public Safety Committee met Thursday to consider whether issuing a ticket for marijuana possession is more appropriate than arresting the possessor.

Terry said the “war on drugs” has been a failure and police resources are better used elsewhere.