Bemidji City Council Moves Forward with 1st Reading of Cannabis Ordinance
The Bemidji City Council has taken the first step towards regulating the use of cannabis in public in public areas in the city.
Recreational marijuana use in Minnesota became legal on August 1st for adults 21 or older, but the law leaves it up to cities to decide how to regulate its use in public. The council moved forward on Monday with the first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit the use of cannabis products in public places anywhere in the city, with exceptions for private homes and property not generally accessible to the public.
The first reading moved forward without any changes despite concerns from some council members about where people who live in apartment buildings will be able to smoke if landlords ban cannabis use in their units.
“Those folks cannot necessarily smoke in their buildings, and then they go outside and they’re not allowed to smoke on the sidewalk … but we don’t have control over the landlords, is that correct?” asked Councilor At-Large Audrey Thayer. “I’m also concerned about those individuals that have no place to go ’cause you can’t go in your car because you can’t smoke in your car, either. So, have we just, like – checking off boxes of what you can’t do and we’re looking very foolish in my mind.”
“This is something that should go to the Parks & Recreation Commission on having a conversation about whether or not there are parks that we could potentially allow public use, because there is no playground equipment, there is no, you know, piece like that that’s going to have a natural draw for children to go to,” said Ward 1 Councilor Gwenia Fiskevold Gould.
The second reading of the ordinance is set for August 21st. That reading will allow for comments from the public.