“This is an unintended consequence of two well-intentioned laws.”

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Maryland’s smoking ban went into effect last month (I assume the other law is a loitering law?). In the shopping district of my neighborhood, bar patrons who now have to smoke on the sidewalk are getting harassed by police. This strip is about 3 blocks long in a largely residential neighborhood, so the surge in “loitering” is likely to cause problems.

The Hon Bar went smoke free when the ban was passed in 2007 to show solidarity and support and, most importantly, to attract customers. A bar/restaurant across the street, The Golden West, features an organic menu and has always had a smoke-free policy. Fraziers’, which is featured in this article, is on the gritty side and was full of smoke until the last minute. It seems to me that this area had figured out how to please their clientele without the state’s help. Now bar owners, customers, and neighbors are all suffering the “unintended consequences” of the smoking ban.

1:46 pm on March 8, 2008