Anchorage Assembly Chair Dick Traini is proposing to treat marijuana smoke like tobacco smoke when it comes to public facilities, workplaces and schools.
A measure that Traini plans to introduce next week at the Assembly meeting would incorporate marijuana and marijuana products into the city's secondhand smoking law. That means smoking marijuana would not be allowed in public places, workplaces, child care centers, outdoor arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters and municipal facilities, including schools.
People also would not be allowed to smoke within 5 feet of the entrance to a place licensed to serve alcohol, or within 50 feet of a hospital or medical clinic entrance.
"If things go the way they are now, you could not smoke tobacco within 5 feet of a building, but you could smoke marijuana there," Traini said. "We want to treat smoke as smoke."
A memo submitted to the Assembly cites uncertainty about the health impacts of secondhand marijuana smoke. It also noted that many of the facilities in question are already covered by a city ban on public consumption, which defines a public place as "a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access" and includes streets, highways, sidewalks, alleys, transportation facilities and parks and playgrounds.
Traini's proposal sidesteps, however, the more controversial question of marijuana smoke in private clubs, bars or bingo halls. In 2007, voters approved a ban on smoking in those facilities and other indoor spaces.
"We'd have to look at that," Traini said. "This is the first step in a long process."
His measure also incorporates a $100 fine for consuming marijuana in a public place.