The annual three-day music festival, attended by thousands and often shrouded in clouds of pot smoke, returns Friday to the Harvard Athletic Complex. Medical experts and advocates say secondhand pot smoke can be a health hazard — and just as annoying as tobacco smoke.
Boston police Sgt. Detective John Boyle said, “Anybody that does smoke weed in public is subject to a citation, and we will hold Boston Calling or any major group like this responsible. They’re subject to a license premise violation if the laws of the commonwealth are violated. It’s going to be handled like any other major permitted event in the city.”
Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick reminded festivalgoers that those under the age of 21 who are caught with weed could face penalties — as could those over age 21 who are found to have more than an ounce of weed on them.
“We strongly encourage attendees to focus on their safety and the safety of others and enjoy what should be another great festival,” Warnick said.
Boston Calling organizers insist they won’t tolerate smoking — of either marijuana or tobacco products — on festival grounds. They say they intend to observe the state’s pot consumption laws: no smoking, vaping or consuming edibles in public. That means no cigarettes and cigars, no joints or Juuls, and no vape pens.
Strict enforcement could prove a buzzkill for some attendees. But anti-smoking advocates say it’s the right call, telling the Herald that secondhand pot smoke contains cancer-causing toxins and chemicals that pose serious health hazards.
“It’s about ensuring everyone has the right to breathe clean air in public places,” said Bronson Frick, associate director of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. “The bottom line is smoke is smoke, and secondhand marijuana smoke still creates a health hazard for other people.”