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BCP News Brief: Judge Reverses Florida Smoking Ban

As of yesterday recreational smoking in parks and beaches is legal in Sarasota County, Florida, at least for now.

According to County attorney Stephen E. DeMarsh, the parks and beaches smoking ban is not legally valid due to a court decision in December. The decision from Sarasota County judge, Judge Maryann Boehm, was that the language of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 2003, clearly says that the state Legislature (and not local governments) is the sole entity that can pass smoking bans. Judge Boehm also said that the Sarasota smoke ban was unenforceable.

Local parks and beaches throughout Florida have some form of smoking ban but now because of this legal loophole it is most likely that they are legally invalid. Because of the loophole it’s expected that counties are going to push for lawmakers in the State Legislature to pass an amendment that allows local governments to pass their own smoking laws.

As of right now Florida residents in parks and beaches can legally smoke. While this isn’t expected to last, it sure sounds nice to be on the beach smoking a cigar right about now!