Strategies To Address Cannabis Smoking in City Parks

Many states have legalized cannabis, but laws prevent smoking in public places, leaving cities to figure out ways of enforcement

Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states, Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Main, Massachusetts, Vermont and the District of Columbia, but cannabis smoking in public parks is still unlawful.

Several cities have had difficulties enforcing the rules. There are several ways cities are using to combat cannabis smoking in areas, some of which had mixed results.

How Users are Beating The system

Due to the Federal and Local statutes surrounding pot smoking in public spaces, users will often employ stealthy tactics such as using smaller bongs (which may sometimes be called mini bongs) in an attempt to hide the contraband whenever law enforcement is patrolling for smokers. Some may not expect to see users smoking full-sized water-pipes (although it has been known to happen). Keep in mind that the position of these small smoking bongs are not illegal but users may still face penalties if illegal smoking substances are found.

LOCAL ORDINANCES REINFORCE Cannabis SMOKING LIMITS

“Washington state law protects private marijuana use, so you can consume openly in a residence as long as the property owner allows it,” says a cannabis FAQ section on Seattle’s municipal website. “Marijuana cannot be consumed in public view, such as on streets or sidewalks or in public parks.”

Furthermore, Washington state’s smoking in public places law disallows any kind of smoking at public places and those of employment, further going against public use of cannabis.

Smoking Cannabis in parks is also illegal in Boston. In 2013, Boston’s city council passed an Ordinance to Promote Clean and Healty Parks created by their late mayor Thomas M. Menino. The ordnance prevents the acts of “inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other lighted or vaporized substance in any manner or form including marijuana used for medical or any other purposes.” The Boston fine for smoking in a park is $250.

Later that year, attendees and organizers for the event Boston Freedom Rally were worried about a fine increase for smoking medicinal or recreational cannabis in Boston during their annual pro-marijuana event. The event Hempfest has been in session for 28 years.

In addition, cannabis enforcement led to a 2016 spike of arrest in Washington, D.C. The Washington Post stated that arrest for smoking cannabis in 2016 almost tripled. More then 500 were arrested in 2016 for smoking marijuana. That’s tripple the 142 people arrested in 2015, when cannabis became legalized. Arrest this year should remain high with 80 arrested between January and April

RENO SETS The Cannabis Stage WITH PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT 

The active Reno Police Department engaged residence at a press conference regarding the recreational use of cannabis in late June, this was before cannabis became legal Nevada on July 1.

According to nevada law “marijuana cannot be consumed or smoked in any public place, including parks, sporting events, moving vehicles, casinos, hotels, concerts, festivals, marijuana facilities or while you’re walking down the street. People who smoke or consume marijuana in public can be fined $600 for the first offense.”

DENVER TRIES TARGETED PARK BANS

In 2016, Denver Parks and Recreation banned suspected drug dealers and users with a temporary directive from downtown parks and the Cherry Creek Greenway for 90 days.

“The Cherry Creek bike trail has become a hub for drug sales and use, jeopardizing the public’s ability to safely enjoy one of Denver’s signature amenities in our outdoor recreation system,” city officials said in a press release. “The purpose of the directive is to protect public health and parkland, increase safety and improve the overall experience for trail users.”

LIMITED PUBLIC WEED SMOKING PERMITS In SanFrancisco

San Francisco gave the ok for their long-running cannabis festival in the San Francisco Counter culture Haight District.

The sponsoring parties are responsible for trash and security which has been a problem in the past. This time there were no arrest.