Ocean City Today

Council considers revising B’walk, beach smoking rules

Expanded ordinance could consider cannabis, vaping for inclusion to exclusion
By Greg Ellison | May 03, 2018
Source: File Photo

(May 4, 2018) Ocean City is considering amending the Boardwalk and beach smoking ordinance to include cannabis use or nicotine vaping in the definition of prohibitions.

Following up on an April 9 Police Commission discussion, City Manager Doug Miller presented a revised smoking ban during the City Council work session on Tuesday.

“We’ve had two issues before us regarding smoking on the Boardwalk and the beach that we wanted to address,” he said. “The first is many times when we cite people who are vaping they say, ‘We’re not smoking we’re vaping.’”

More recently, Miller said the Police Commission raised concerns after the state medical marijuana program began sales in December.

“The Police Commission asked that we expedite a look at our current regulations [to see if] a smoker of tobacco could be potentially be fined more stringently than that person smoking marijuana,” he said.

Miller credited Kelly Allmond, executive office associate, for researching the topic and locating a smoking ordinance from San Mateo County in California that served as a template.

“The key area under definitions  ...  we would add a good many things, including marijuana and vaping,” he said. “Basically any type of smoke that can be ingested.”

The expanded definition list includes pipes, hookahs, cigars, and electronic cigarettes.

The revised ordinance’s intent is to protect the public from involuntary exposure to, “environmental tobacco, nicotine or cannabis smoke or vapor.”

The smoking ordinance also applies at all public parks in Ocean City, except at Northside Park within 15 feet of designated areas, as well as within a 15-foot radius of bus shelters.

The council voted 6-0, with Councilman John Gehrig absent, to hold a first reading on the proposed smoking ordinance revisions at its May 7 meeting.

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