Marijuana at State Fair prompts review of smoking policy

Both slow and soaring, fairgoers fly high over the Wade Shows Midway at the New York State Fair this year in Syracuse. Kara Dry/Watertown Daily Times

SYRACUSE — There could be changes coming to the New York State Fair’s smoking policy.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is directing the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to conduct a review of fairs in New York. One part of the review will examine the state fair’s smoking policy.

The existing smoking policy prohibits smoking in certain areas of the fair, including all buildings, picnic areas, the midway and kiddieland. The ban also applies to the grassy area at Chevy Court, the 9/11 and veterans memorials and the State Park at the Fair.

According to the policy, smoking is permitted at the fair “in other general areas that are not prohibited by New York State Law.”

The impetus for the review is the legalization of marijuana in New York. Prior to the fair, it was announced that marijuana could be smoked on the fairgrounds.

State Fair Director Troy Waffner told The Citizen on Thursday that because tobacco products can be smoked at the fairgrounds, marijuana smoking was permitted.

“That was an issue this year,” Waffner said.

There are a few options for the fair. One possibility is the creation of designated smoking areas. Six Flags Darien Lake, an amusement park in western New York, prohibits smoking but has designated smoking areas for guests.

Waffer thinks the idea of designated smoking areas is “a fair way of addressing it.”

The fair could also explore a ban without establishing designated smoking areas. Another option is to not change the policy, but Waffner said he doesn’t believe that’s “a realistic thing to do.”

“I do agree with everybody who said we have to do something to try to control the smoking of marijuana around kids and families because this is a family event,” he added.

It’s unknown how long the review will last or when the smoking policy could be updated. Hochul announced on Thursday that the fair will return to a 13-day schedule in 2022 after an 18-day run this year.

The 2022 fair opens Aug. 24 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 5.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(1) comment


Think how these state cops would go after kids for a small joint. LMAO

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.