Clean-air act

Seattle will severely limit smoking in city parks, effective April 1.

The city backpedaled on a ban on all smoking in parks, which had inflamed the city’s smokers, who noted that trees were their only source of protection from the rain after the statewide indoor smoking ban pushed them outside.

Legalize it: In other smoke-related news, backers of an initiative to allow marijuana use by adults in Washington state began collecting signatures Thursday. To get the measure on the November ballot, they need to gather 241,153 valid signatures of registered voters by July 2.

Ironically, if voters legalize pot and Seattle’s new rules on smoking in parks hold, the 2011 Hempfest could be ruined because attendees would be obliged to walk out to the nearest sidewalk for a toke.

A long, fraudulent finish: A French court issued stiff fines this week to the perpetrators of a scheme to label merlot and syrah wine as more expensive pinot noir and export the bogus vino to the United States.

Attempting to justify their actions, the miscreants pointed out that in the U.S., it is perfectly legal to label and sell Natural Light as “beer.”

— Mark Carlson, Herald writer