Patients were told that smoking medical cannabis on the Seaside Boardwalk, even if it is in the designated smoking section, is not allowed. Although patients have the right to smoke where the law allows them, there are restrictions that limit medicating in certain public places.
Michelle Burns, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was quickly interrupted while trying to medicate in the designated smoking section on the boardwalk.
As shown in this video, she was confronted by a group of officers, one of the officers stated that no one has ever even explained the “medical marijuana” laws to them. Even though it is argued in the video that CUMMA allows medical marijuana patients to smoke where the Clean Air Act permits them, there are exceptions to the overarching rule. CSATC encourages all patients to review CUMMA and to respect the guidelines provided by the Department of Health stated below.
The Department of Health provides guidelines for patients which say:
“Patients are encouraged to use medicinal marijuana only in their residence. Patients may not smoke medicinal marijuana in a school bus, on public transportation, or in a private vehicle while in motion. Additionally, patients may not smoke medicinal marijuana on any school grounds or at any correctional facility, public park, beach, recreation center or other places where smoking is prohibited.”
The officers clarified that the boardwalk is considered a recreation area, and this understanding was reinforced at a subsequent council meeting. The borough attorney said that they may consider altering this rule. Overall, it did not seem to be a hostile encounter with the police officers. The patients in the video were cooperative and understanding, and the officers gave suggestions on where they could medicate without being bothered by law enforcement.