LA County bans vaping and smoking pot at beaches

LOS ANGELES — It’s about to get harder to find a place to vape and smoke cannabis in Los Angeles County.

The Board of Supervisors updated the county’s legal definition of “smoke” and “smoking” on Tuesday, expanding an existing ban on using tobacco products at beaches, parks and government buildings to include electronic cigarettes and pot.

The supervisors also clamped down with new restrictions on smoking at beach parking lots, bus stops, outdoor bars and some common areas of county-owned golf courses in unincorporated areas.

The new rules on public consumption come as a breath of fresh air to health advocates and others turned off by second-hand smoke. They also are among the county’s first major policy changes on cannabis since California voters legalized the drug for adult use in 2016.

“By closing loopholes of smoke-free zones … L.A. County residents are better able to enjoy cleaner, healthier air,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a written statement. “No one should have to worry about the harmful effects of second-hand smoke while walking to school or work, or enjoying a meal in a restaurant.”

The updated rules were designed to clarify the county’s long-standing ban on smoking tobacco in restaurants and workplaces, which had left room to be interpreted as not covering e-cigarettes or cannabis, even though the latter is already prohibited by state law.

The ordinance now spells out that smoking cannabis and vaping electronic cigarettes aren’t allowed on the 25 miles of beaches owned and operated by the county, or in the parking lots of those recreation areas in Malibu, Venice and Marina del Rey, among others.

“It does bother me, of course, especially when we’re trying to do something healthy and work out,” Alex Padilla of Torrance said Saturday, after a volleyball match with friends on at Marina Beach in Marina del Rey, a pocket of the county inside the city of Los Angeles between Venice and Westchester. “It’s definitely a health concern.”

With such residents in mind, beach advocates also welcomed the move, saying an explicit ban by the county would help curb second-hand smoke — and also potentially reduce plastic waste from cannabis packaging and the electronic-cigarette cartridges used for vaping.

Read more at https://www.dailyrepublic.com

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