Duluth City Council approves marijuana smoking ordinance

Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 9:44 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- Smoking recreational marijuana is now officially banned in most public places in the city of Duluth.

In a 8-1 vote, Duluth City Council approved of the new ordinance Monday night.

“There’s two parts to the proposed ordinance,” said Arik Forsman, a Duluth City Councilor. “The first is that we are going to add marijuana smoking to the list of places that we already regulate tobacco smoking.”

The restricted smoking areas include being within 100 feet of a medical facility, inside any Duluth Transit Authority, and 15 feet from the nearest point of any DTA transit shelter, and some city parks.

“The second is we are going to broaden out restrictions on all city parks for both,” said Forsman.

That means smoking marijuana and tobacco is banned from all city parks like the Rose Garden, that brings in hundreds of people a week.

One person we spoke with who was enjoying the Rose Garden said the new regulation doesn’t bother them.

“I think it’s legal, I think people should be able to smoke it wherever,” said Eden Worden, a Duluth resident. “I really don’t care, and I don’t have a preference either.”

But other people were saying they are happy with the council’s decision, wanting to smell the roses and not the smoke.

“It’s something that, if you do it, keep it in your own area,” said Jenny Stolzenberg, a woman was visiting Duluth with her family.

“I would like to see it enforced, but I don’t want them to be ham-handed about it,” said Jim Elstrom, a Duluth resident.

The council also spent time discussing what type of fine would be given for those who violate the smoking ban.

At first, they were thinking about following the previously existing fine, which was $75 for a first violation, $125 for the second, and $300 there on.

Councilors eventually deciding to amend that price, lowering it to $25 for a first violation, $50 for the second, and then $75 for any subsequent violation.

“I don’t think this will be something that you see a lot of citations on, but that was the council reacting to some of the community feedback that we heard,” said Forsman.

Councilors say this ordinance is a reasonable first step to regulate smoking in public places, without interfering with people’s rights.

However, they do plan on going back to the drawing board soon, hoping to make improvements that will benefit everyone in the long run.

Editor’s Note: this story formerly included a sentence regarding the ban’s impact on cannabis in other forms. We have removed that sentence while we wait to clarify details.

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