Since 2008, it’s been illegal to smoke indoors at most public places in Illinois. But smoking could once again be allowed at bars, restaurants,... Weed cafes in Illinois? People could be allowed to smoke marijuana (not tobacco) at bars, restaurants under new law.

Since 2008, it’s been illegal to smoke indoors at most public places in Illinois. But smoking could once again be allowed at bars, restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses, even new cannabis smoke lounges and weed-friendly movie theaters and concert venues — if local officials approve that.

That’s under a largely overlooked provision of the new Illinois law legalizing recreational marijuana use and sales.

The law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana beginning Jan. 1 provides an exemption to the Smoke-Free Illinois Act that banned smoking at workplaces and most public places because of the health threat of secondhand smoke. A similar exemption already was in place for cigar lounges.

That means smoking once again could become commonplace at public places in Illinois, according to the law’s chief sponsor — but only of marijuana, not tobacco, which remains largely banned at workplaces and businesses.

Surprised to hear that, health advocates say allowing more smoking of any kind in indoor public places is a bad idea.

“This is a step backwards for the health of the people of Illinois,” says Kathy Drea, head of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Illinois. [Read more at Chicago Sun Times]

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