Regulating medical marijuana use in public spaces

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Middlesex County town of Pepperell is newest town, among a growing number, who are passing bylaws to regulate where people can smoke medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana is coming to Massachusetts, but the use of it is being regulated before the first dispensary is even built. Pepperell is banning the use of marijuana in public.

Some say they don’t think it’s right to put restrictions on a substance used for medical purposes.

It like imposes on us to say that we cant smoke where it’s possible for us to smoke at. Especially when you have a condition like myself. It does me good,” said Al Java Johnson of Holyoke.

However, others agree with regulating the medical use of pot, saying it’s all about public courtesy.

Michael Moreau of Northampton told 22News, “Smoke is pervasive. The contact high that kids might get. If you sitting on a bench smoking next to kids, you should do it at home I think.”

Northampton’s smoking ban covers parks playgrounds and city buildings. And it’s not just tobacco. The ban includes e-cigarettes, and marijuana, including for medical purposes.

Northampton Public Health Director Merridith O’Leary told 22News why she thinks more cities and towns are regulating smoking in public spaces.

“When we think about park and recreation areas and what their intent. It’s to promote healthy activity. This is where children congregate, so not only do we have children congregating there but we have adults there and we want our adults to pose as healthy role models,” said O’Leary.

Violators of Northampton’s new smoking regulations can be fined $100. A violation of Pepperell’s by law could cost you $300.

A medical marijuana dispensary is likely coming to Northampton. New England Treatment Access is looking to open a facility on Conz Street.

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