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February 22, 2017

In the state with some of the strictest tobacco regulations in the country, legalization of marijuana has California lawmakers pondering over how to treat the illicit substance. A bill from Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) referenced a 2011 law that permitted landlords to prohibit the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products on their rental properties. Since voters legalized recreational use in the last election, the law would have applied to marijuana.

AB 2300 had advanced unanimously at an Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing where Wood cited preliminary research from U.C. San Francisco that found pot smoke can damage your blood vessels and heart as much as cigarettes.

“Secondhand smoke, regardless of whether it’s smoke from tobacco or marijuana, is especially problematic in multi-unit apartments and condos because the smoke easily travels the windows, doors and other ventilation systems,” Wood said. “It’s a nuisance that tenants should not have to live with.”

California law does prohibit smoking medical marijuana anywhere tobacco is banned, including most public places. However, the California Apartment Association (bill’s sponsor), said it is important to give landlords the ability to prohibit Marijuana use on their properties, partly because it can create tension among tenants.

Some advocates have raised concerns that AB 2300 would infringe on the rights of patients under Proposition 215, the medical marijuana legalization act passed by California voters in 1996. The largest marijuana user organizations are neutral on the bill, though they told the committee they may be able to support it if an exemption is included for those who “vaporize” cannabis, which may fall under the legal definition of smoking [Sacramento Bee – 4-27-2016].

“Prop. 215 does not specifically mention the right to smoke marijuana,” Wood said. “Qualified patients will still be able to obtain and use medical marijuana through all other non-smoking ways,” such as edibles and oils.

AB 2300 was dropped in August 2016. An aide to Assemblyman Wood (D- Healdsburg) said an agreement could not be worked out with a key committee on how to meet the needs of people relying on medical cannabis [LA Times 8-31-2016].

Tierney Law Group are experienced real estate attorneys, licensed in California. They can be reached at [email protected] or at 925-362-3364.

Original articles written by Alexei Koseff -Sacramento Bee; and Patrick McGreevy – Los Angeles Times.