Eden Prairie has prohibited the use of tobacco in its city parks for more than 20 years, but park signage is being updated to make it clear that smoking or vaping cannabis is off-limits as well.
Why it matters: The 2023 Minnesota Legislature legalized adult use of cannabis effective Aug. 1, and communities are scrambling to determine whether their local regulations and policies on public smoking need to be adjusted.
City Parks Director Jay Lotthammer said Wednesday that no-smoking signs in city parks are being changed to read, “smoking or vaping any substance, or use of tobacco, is not permitted.” The new signs will be posted by the time the cannabis law goes into effect next week, he added.
The words “or use of tobacco” is meant to cover smokeless tobacco, more commonly called chewing tobacco, Lotthammer noted.
Minnesota’s new law allows cannabis and cannabis products to be consumed in one’s private residence or yard; on private property, not generally accessible by the public, unless the owner of the property prohibits the use of the products; or on the premises of an establishment or event licensed to permit on-site consumption.
But, Minnesotans cannot smoke or vape cannabis in a location where smoking is already prohibited by the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, a regulation that extends to public buildings such as the Eden Prairie Community Center.
Under the newly clarified city policy, said Lotthammer, anyone smoking or vaping in a city park will be approached by a customer relations lead or police officer who will “make them aware it’s not appropriate.”
Violation of the city’s 2002 no-smoking ordinance is considered a petty misdemeanor subject to a $100 fine.
Because cities are responding in different ways to regulate the use of cannabis in public places, Lotthammer said it’s also possible the Legislature will at some point fine-tune the law for the sake of consistency on public smoking, or provide guidance on how cities should regulate the behavior.
On Monday, the League of Minnesota Cities provided its own guidance to communities considering local regulations.
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