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Rockland gives initial OK to ban on smoking in city parks, fields

By Stephen Betts | Aug 13, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Rockland Harbor Park

Rockland — The Rockland City Council gave initial approval Monday evening, Aug. 12, to banning smoking in all city parks and recreational fields.

A formal public hearing and final vote are scheduled for Sept. 9.

The proposed ordinance states "Smoking, vaping, and the use of all tobacco and electronic smoking devices is prohibited in all parks, recreational areas and sporting venues, and public buildings."

Smoking is already banned by state law in public buildings.

City councilors said while they supported the measure in a preliminary vote, they have concerns with the penalties.

A first violation would result in a warning. A second violation during a one-year period would result in being banned from the premises where the violation occurred for six months. A third or subsequent violation during the year would incur a one-year ban from the premises.

Councilor Valli Geiger said the proposal was overly expansive. She also said it was criminalizing something that is legal.

Police could charge someone with criminal trespass if they refuse to leave after being ordered for violating the smoking ban.

Councilor Ed Glaser said this type of ordinance calls for a workshop where there would be time for public input to shape the proposed law. Mayor Lisa Westkaemper said she would schedule a workshop on the proposed ordinance before Sept. 9.

Glaser said the city attorney could also review the proposed ordinance before the next vote.

Councilors indicated they would support changes to the penalty part of the ordinance before giving it final approval.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Aug 13, 2019 18:07

What medicine I wonder....

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Aug 13, 2019 11:28

I have heard that medication can be administered by vaping.  The City might want to verify that.

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