California Bill Would Ban Smoking Pot on Beaches

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Tucked inside a piece of legislation aimed at preventing people from using cigarettes in parks and along beaches all across California is language that would also make it unlawful to smoke marijuana in these places, even if the consumption is done through the use of a vaporizer.

Legislative forces in the Golden State recently sent a bill to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown calling for a total prohibition on marijuana smoke, as part of its effort to clean up areas of recreation all over the state. If passed, the non-smoking rule would apply to hundreds of miles of beaches and nearly 300 state parks, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“This bill would reduce the serious health hazards posed by smoking—to people and wildlife—in our state parks and beaches,” said State Senator Steve Glazer, one of the sponsors of the bill. “It would reduce fire hazards and litter and the costs for those now borne by the public.”

But is this legislation really necessary to police those who might use medical and recreational marijuana while frequenting these popular public hangouts?

Probably not.

Last year, when Californians approved the initiative to legalize the leaf for recreational purposes, they signed up in support of a law that prohibits the use of marijuana in all public places, including beaches and parks. The public pot consumption clause under Proposition 64 is similar to the state’s law against drinking alcohol in public—it simply isn’t allowed.

In fact, the only designated area where marijuana consumption is permitted in California is on private property. Under Proposition 64, a person caught smoking weed anywhere other than their personal dwelling can be slapped with a fine of up to $100.

So, even if Governor Brown does sign the bill into law, it does not stand to change the way the cannabis community is permitted to consume the herb.

Incidentally, the governor vetoed a similar measure last year, citing concerns that the language was not distinctive enough.

But now that the penalties have been reduced from $250 to $100, right in line with the state’s fine for public pot consumption, it is possible he could support the issue in ink.

Earlier this week, another semi-confusing bill was sent to the governor, calling for an outright ban on marijuana consumption for those operating or riding in a motor vehicle. Although driving a car under the influence of marijuana already goes against the grain of the law, lawmakers felt it was necessary to deliver the message that all roadway weed consumption was off-limits. Governor Brown signed the bill into law on Monday.

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