Update: The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee voted in favor of AB 62 by a vote of 7-0 on April 27 and now heads to the full Assembly.
Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wood, AB 62, would ban smoking and vaping of tobacco, cannabis, and other medicinal herbs in public housing.
Cal NORML opposes the bill on the grounds that it bans cannabis as well as tobacco, making it impossible for medical cannabis patients to inhale their medicine legally. Unlike cannabis users, tobacco smokers are allowed to smoke openly in public, where use of cannabis is banned under Prop 64. There is no reason to think that cannabis poses the same second-hand exposure risks as tobacco.
Other opponents of AB 62 include the ACLU, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. They argue against the inclusion of electronic cigarettes for reasons including the increased the risk of eviction and therefore homelessness among public housing residents.
Federal rules already prohibit smoking in public housing, but do not include e-cigarettes. This is because there is no evidence that e-cigs pose a significant public health hazard, as they effectively eliminate harmful second-hand smoke toxins.
Meanwhile, NORML continues to hear from seriously ill people thoughout the country who are being evicted for smoking or vaping medical cannabis. Californian patients deserve to be able to consume their medicine.
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