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massimo ankor/Flickr

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On July 1, Portland residents will no longer be able to smoke in all parks and nature areas. Under the initial ruling, violators would have been handed a misdemeanor. Now, they will simply be asked to leave the park.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who proposed the ban initially, recently presented an amendment  to the law that eliminated the misdemeanor fine.

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"It was never intended to mean that people would go to jail for smoking in parks," Fritz says. "The public defender brought to my attention that in fact that it can escalate to going to jail through disobeying the lawful order of a police officer."

Fritz says that the new maximum penalty will be exclusion from the park for the remainder of the day and no fine. Park rangers will help enforce the rules, rather than law enforcement. She believes that there will no problem with individuals following the ban.

"I think most people follow the rules because they know what the rules are," Fritz says, "and even if they don't like them, most people obey the rules without the threat of enforcement."

With the legalization of marijuana occurring July 1, Fritz says that they will not be using park rangers for dealing with violators.

"I think [enforcing laws banning smoking marijuana in public] will be challenging and that is governed by state law, Fritz says. "So in that case, we will be expecting the police to be enforcing that and there will be significant penalties according to state law."

According to the office of Commissioner Fritz, the amendment was passed on June 25 at the Portland City Council meeting.

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