FOLEY (WJON News) -- Benton County commissioners will consider a public use ordinance governing marijuana use in the county.

The ordinance would prohibit smoking, ingesting, or the consumption of cannabis products in public places or places of public accommodation...

So this would be applicable to a public place, for example, a public park, or a city parking lot. But, it would also be applicable to places of public accommodation like bars and restaurants. So, it would actually apply to places that are public property, but also those places of public accommodation.

County Administrator Monty Headley says the idea is to protect kids and families from exposure...

I think in this instance, you wouldn't want the consumption of cannabis products where someone next to you could be inhaling it. For example, a child could be inhaling it so I think that's some of the basis for the ordinance, particularly in a public park.

The ordinance would also cover places of public accommodation like the Benton County Fairgrounds, bar patios, and outdoor music venues.

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If enacted, the ordinance would be the governing rule for cities and townships in the county that don't have their own public use ordinance.

Stearns County will take up a similar ordinance at its August 8th board of commissioners meeting, and Sherburne County will hold informal discussions on a public use ordinance at its August 15th meeting.

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