San Francisco Bans Smoking Tobacco in Apartments—but Allows Weed

Marijuana plants are grown at Essence Vegas' 54,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation facility on July 6, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. On July 1, Nevada joined seven other states allowing recreational marijuana use and became the first of four states that voted to legalize recreational sales in November's election to allow dispensaries to sell cannabis for recreational use to anyone over 21. Since July 1, sales of cannabis products in the state have generated more than USD 1 million in tax revenue. / Getty Images
Getty Images
December 2, 2020

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to ban smoking in apartment buildings—but made an exception for marijuana, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

Supervisor Norman Yee (D.) brought forward the original measure—which included a ban on smoking weed—last week, with the intent of protecting nonsmokers from inhaling secondhand smoke inside apartment complexes.

After pro-marijuana activists spoke out against the prohibition, however, the board passed an amendment that allows renters to smoke weed in their units. Those who smoke tobacco products will have to step outside. 

Activists claimed the original measure would have essentially criminalized weed in apartment complexes, who cannot smoke outside because smoking marijuana in public is illegal in California.

The amendment to exclude weed from the ban passed 8-3, and the ban as a whole passed 10-1. It will again face the board next week for a secondary vote, a formality before it reaches the mayor's desk. 

San Francisco is the largest United States city to ban smoking within apartment buildings, according to the Chronicle.  

The new ordinance falls under the jurisdiction of the city's Department of Public Health. Tobacco smokers face fines of $1,000 per day if they are caught smoking inside their unit more than once.

California was the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use, in 1996. The state legalized the drug for recreational use in 2010. 

Last year, Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned against the widespread legalization of marijuana, noting that we lack clear data on the drug's longterm effects.