Park Board to consider full smoking ban

Smoking and tobacco use in Minneapolis parks may be completely banned by the end of summer.

At-large Park Board Commissioner John Erwin and District 2 Commissioner Jon Olson are planning to introduce an ordinance completely banning all tobacco use and smoking – applicable to e-cigarettes and marijuana, if it is legalized in the future – from Minneapolis parks at the June 4 Park Board meeting.

The Park Board’s current policy, passed in 2010, bans smoking or any tobacco use within 100 feet of any Park Board building, playground, beach or wading pool, and within 50 feet of any youth athletic field or contest.

A complete ban is already in place at all of the Park Board’s gardens (Sculpture Garden, Rose Garden, Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, etc), the Lake Harriet Bandstand and Wirth Recreation Area.

Erwin said offenders will probably be ticketed with a $50 fine, although that will be up for debate among the other commissioners when the ordinance is introduced. Erwin also favors a one-year grace period, where offenders would be issued a warning instead of a fine during the ban’s first calendar year.

The smoking ban ordinance should be enacted by Labor Day unless it faces unexpected resistance making its way through the Park Board approval process.