San Francisco is poised to develop into the biggest U.S. metropolis to ban smoking in residences and condominiums, with one notable exception to the rule: hashish.
Throughout a Board of Supervisors assembly Tuesday, metropolis directors voted to amend the proposed ban to exclude marijuana.
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman launched the modification after neighborhood members and business teams lobbied towards the unique draft of the proposal, which drew no distinction between secondhand smoke from tobacco and that of marijuana.
“Nonsmokers haven’t any enough means to guard themselves from the harm inflicted by secondhand smoke,” the proposal said, including that regulation of smoking in multi-unit housing is “needed to guard the well being, security, welfare, consolation and atmosphere of nonsmokers.”
Advocates of California Proposition 64, which legalized leisure marijuana within the state in 2016, referred to as the unique proposal a de facto ban on hashish use for many residents of town.
“In contrast to tobacco, which will be smoked exterior on public streets, hashish consumption is illegitimate in all public areas below state legislation,” a number of residents wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors. “The proposed ordinance would thus go away residence dwellers with no authorized place to take pleasure in marijuana.”
Others mentioned a ban on hashish in multi-unit buildings amounted to a type of racism or classism in a metropolis the place the median value for a single-family house is $1.four million.
“The proposed ban … successfully disenfranchises our rights to eat hashish and discriminates towards those that can’t afford to dwell in a single-family residence,” resident Mikki Norris wrote.
In a phone interview, Supervisor Norman Yee, who drafted the unique proposal, mentioned he noticed it otherwise.
“There’s some folks saying, ‘You’ll must be wealthy to smoke,’” he mentioned, “however I feel it’s the opposite means round. You’ve obtained to be a home-owner to breathe clear air? Why do poor those that lease not get to breathe clear air?”
Yee mentioned he started wanting into the problem final yr after receiving an electronic mail from a mom who had run out of choices for shielding her toddler little one from smoke from the unit beneath hers.
“It dawned on me that we don’t even have protections for folks residing in multi-unit buildings,” he mentioned.
Smoking is already banned in frequent areas corresponding to elevators and hallways, Yee mentioned, however continues to be allowed inside items, though landlords could set their very own guidelines.
“It didn’t make any sense,” he mentioned.
The brand new ordinance will apply to all buildings with three or extra items, and will likely be enforced by the Division of Public Well being, which can concern fines of as much as $1,000 for repeat offenders. Violations is not going to be grounds for eviction, the ordinance says.
Through the prolonged and at instances heated assembly, a number of supervisors mentioned they had been conflicted a few broad hashish exemption and motioned for the proposal to be returned to the Public Security Committee for additional dialogue, though that movement didn’t cross.
“The science, the knowledge and the info is incontrovertible,” mentioned Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, who co-sponsored the unique proposal. “If you take heed to the specialists … secondhand smoke, no matter the place it originates from, is extraordinarily impactful, significantly on the lives of low-income households of colour which might be residing in multi-unit properties.”
Whereas the dangerous results of secondhand tobacco smoke are properly documented, the results of hashish smoke are way more hazy.
Yee mentioned that hashish smoke comprises carcinogens and different toxins, an announcement backed up by the American Lung Assn., and that youngsters uncovered to it will possibly current with elevated ranges of THC of their bloodstream.
However Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncologist and most cancers researcher at UC San Francisco’s Osher Middle for Integrative Drugs, mentioned proof doesn’t assist the conclusion that hashish smoke is a well being threat for somebody in a wholly totally different housing unit.
“Hashish smoke has by no means been linked to elevated mortality, even in firsthand customers,” he wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors. “Nor has firsthand hashish smoke been proven to trigger lung most cancers, COPD or different critical well being results.”
Reached by telephone, Abrams — who was one in all 16 scientists behind the Nationwide Academies of Science, Engineering and Drugs’s sweeping 2017 study on the well being results of hashish — mentioned he thought together with hashish within the ban would do extra hurt than good.
“I’m an oncologist, I maintain most cancers sufferers,” he mentioned. “My concern is that if my most cancers sufferers can’t make the most of hashish in their very own multi-unit locations that they spend $3,000 to $5,000 a month to dwell in.”
With Tuesday’s modification, the ordinance will likely be restricted to smoke from tobacco, which incorporates cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaporizer merchandise, the board mentioned.
It is going to transfer to a proper vote in the course of the board’s assembly on Dec. 8, then will go to the mayor for signing. As soon as signed, the laws will go into impact 30 days later.
In August, town of West Hollywood rejected a similar proposal to ban hashish and tobacco smoking for current tenants of multi-unit dwellings, though new tenants will likely be topic to a tobacco ban.
Different cities, corresponding to Berkeley and Alameda, already ban smoking in multi-unit buildings, though their bans had been handed earlier than 2016 and don’t account for hashish of their language. Santa Clara, which handed its ordinance in 2019, bans each hashish and tobacco smoking in multi-unit residences.
Whereas San Francisco’s pot fanatics could rejoice the exclusion of hashish from the ban, not everybody will see it as a victory.
“We at present dwell in a constructing with eight items, and one in all our neighbors smokes hashish and cigarettes often all through the day,” residents Lucila Pereyra Murray and Langdon Quin wrote in a letter to the board.
The couple is considering of beginning a household, they mentioned, however is fearful concerning the impact of smoke each throughout being pregnant and past.
“We consider that no one ought to need to unnecessarily fear about components corresponding to somebody’s else’s thought of ‘enjoyable’ affecting their well being inside their very own properties,” they wrote.
Supervisor Dean Preston mentioned that he spent a few years advocating for tenant safety insurance policies earlier than becoming a member of the board, and that the problem of smoking in residences got here up repeatedly with little-to-no consensus.
“This can be a very advanced concern,” he mentioned. “I can’t consider one other concern that has so divided people that actually have good intentions on either side.”