A new nanny-state ordinance coming from the Board of Supervisors proposes banning all smoking — including vapes and cannabis smoking — in apartment buildings of more than three units. You'd best believe that this won't pass easily, at least the pot-smoking part.
The proposed ordinance is the last to come from termed-out District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, and as the Examiner reports, the board's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee voted Thursday to bring it to a full board vote on December 1.
"“We are discussing the right of our residents to breathe clean air," said Yee, per the Examiner. And he's not willing to make broad exceptions for the city's considerable community of marijuana fans.
Supervisor Rafael Mandelman provided some pushback, in a preview of what's likely to come when the full Board of Supervisors discusses the proposed law in three weeks. As the Examiner reports, Mandelman has already suggested exempting cannabis from the ordinance, especially in light of the fact that it's now broadly legal for recreational use in California, though smoking it outdoors is not always perfectly legal.
Yee has said he's willing to accept an amendment that would exempt medical-use cannabis only, for those with medical marijuana cards only. But a broad exemption wouldn't go far enough to protect residents from secondhand smoke, Yee says.
"For folks who do not have a medical cannabis card, there are very few places outside their own home where you can consume cannabis," Mandelman said, per the Examiner. "It is not parallel to cigarettes in that way. Cigarettes, there are still places where smokers can go and smoke."
San Francisco has slowly whittled away the rights of smokers to smoke over time — one of the the last instances being a 2010 ordinance that banned smoking for people standing in lines at ATMs, movie theaters, or takeout places, and banned smoking at bus stops or transit stations. In 2014, the Board of Supervisors extended the city's smoking bans to include e-cigs and vapes, and in 2017 they voted to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored tobacco and vape products.
Many rental apartment buildings across the city already ban smoking in leases, as do many landlords in smaller buildings. But making a ban on marijuana smoking indoors at home a city law seems kind of nuts for a town that has embraced recreational marijuana for decades, and decriminalized it long before the state did.
City officials estimate that about 12 percent of city residents are tobacco smokers, and about half of the city's residents live in multi-unit rental buildings.
Photo: Jude Beck