Duluth council to introduce marijuana ordinance

With legal marijuana use set to begin in Minnesota on August 1, 2023, Duluth City Councilors Arik Forsman, Roz Randorf, and Terese Tomanek announced today they will introduce an ordinance that aims to prohibit smoking marijuana in public outdoor spaces, including all city parks. The measure would proactively address potential public health and safety concerns brought about by the state law changes.

“Today we are taking common sense action to maintain a safe, clean, and healthy environment for all residents and visitors of Duluth in our outdoor public spaces,” said Forsman, the lead author of the proposed new city law. “This ordinance reflects our commitment to strike a balance between personal freedoms and safeguarding the interests of non-smokers, families, and children from secondhand marijuana smoke.” 

The proposed ordinance will explicitly prohibit smoking or vaping of marijuana in all public parks, streets, sidewalks, easements, publicly owned property, and publicly owned or operated parking lots or parking facilities. Currently, only the smoking of tobacco is regulated by the city and recent state law changes allowed the smoking and vaping of marijuana in public. To-date, it is the first such known ordinance proposed by a city in the state of Minnesota since the new state laws were passed during the 2023 legislative session.

The Duluth ordinance will be introduced at the upcoming July 24th meeting and voted on by the full city council on August 14th. Councilors Forsman, Randorf, and Tomanek welcome input over the next few weeks to ensure that all stakeholders can voice their perspectives on this important matter.