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San Francisco Bans Tobacco Smoking In Apartments, Allows Marijuana Smoking

San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban citizens from being able to smoke tobacco inside apartments on Tuesday, but made an exception for marijuana users.

The board approved the ordinance by a vote of 10-1, the Associated Press reported.

If the new law is approved during a second vote and signed into law by the mayor, San Francisco would become the first large city in the U.S. to ban tobacco smoking inside apartment buildings.

Vaping and e-cigarettes would also be prohibited under the measure, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Although the original proposal aimed to block residents from smoking both marijuana and tobacco, cannabis activists complained it would eliminate the only place where they could legally smoke.

“Unlike tobacco, which can be smoked outside on public streets, cannabis consumption is illegal in all public spaces under state law,” several residents wrote in a letter to the board, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The proposed ordinance would thus leave apartment dwellers with no legal place to enjoy marijuana.”

Others alleged that banning cannabis use in apartment buildings classified as classism or racism, because most people cannot afford the average $1.4 million price tag that comes with a single-family San Francisco home, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“The proposed ban … effectively disenfranchises our rights to consume cannabis and discriminates against those who can’t afford to live in a single-family residence,” resident Mikki Norris wrote in the letter to the board.

San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman ended up writing an amendment to the proposal to circumvent the issue altogether, the Associated Press reported.

“Unlike tobacco smokers who could still leave their apartments to step out to the curb or smoke in other permitted outdoor smoking areas, cannabis users would have no such legal alternatives,” Mandelman reasoned.

Opponents argued the ban violates their right to do as they please inside their homes, while proponents said the ordinance will protect residents from secondhand tobacco smoke, the Associated Press reported.

Enforcement of the new law will fall under the purview of the Department of Public Health.

Violators will initially receive education in an effort to help them stop using tobacco, but they could be fined up to $1,000 per day if they refuse to comply with the ban, the Associated Press reported.

The Board of Supervisors plans to hold the second vote on the ordinance sometime next week.

If San Francisco Mayor London Breed signs off on the measure, it would go into effect 30 days later, according to CNN.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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