St. Paul is now restricting smoking on public property in an effort to curb the use of tobacco, marijuana and hemp on St. Paul streets.
A split council voted 4-3 Wednesday evening to restrict the use of smoking, but allowed property owners and city property managers to create designated smoking areas. The use of smoking products without such designation is no longer allowed within 25 feet of places of employment. The council added language that would allow the park board to designate areas that could be used for smoking.
Previous iterations of the ordinance would have just banned cannabis products in public spaces, making the use of such a product a petty misdemeanor.
Councilmember Mitra Jalali said she opposed the ordinance because she had “significant enforcement concerns.” She later clarified that she believes the enforcement of the ordinance would likely fall along racial lines.
The ordinance does provide exceptions for Native American cultural practices or other religious, ceremonial, or cultural purposes.
“I view this as the continued evolution towards a smoke-free society, a smoke-free St. Paul, Councilmember Chris Tolbert said. “This is the next step towards a clean air city.”
Tolbert clarified that the petty misdemeanor charge does not come with a fine or jail time. Previous iterations of the ordinance did involve a fine.
Gummies, drinks or edibles are not restricted by the ordinance.