SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — With California voters preparing to decide on whether to legalize recreational marijuana this November, a state lawmaker pushed a bill to allow landlords to ban medicinal pot use in their rental units.
Assembly Bill 2300 would expand a current state law that gives landlords the authority to prohibit cigarette smoking on their properties to include medicinal marijuana as well. The measure passed its first Assembly committee unanimously Wednesday.
The bill's author, Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, says AB 2300 is about protecting people from secondhand smoke.
"Secondhand smoke can be a real problem, especially for families who live in apartments or other multifamily residences," Wood said in a statement after the committee vote.
Wood told the Assembly Judiciary Committee that secondhand smoke from either tobacco or marijuana is particularly dangerous in apartment complexes because the smoke "easily travels through windows, doors and other ventilation systems."
"It's a nuisance tenants should not have to live with," Wood continued.
The Northern California Democrat said public awareness about the dangers of secondhand marijuana smoke is lacking and pointed to a recent University of California-San Francisco study tying marijuana smoke to cardiovascular disease.
The study suggests that marijuana smoke can have similar cardiovascular effects as tobacco, including a 70 percent drop in blood vessel function.
"The adverse cardiovascular effects of secondhand marijuana smoke have only recently begun to be studied, and we are seeing just a few minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke from tobacco and marijuana have the same negative effect on the ability of arteries to carry enough blood, with marijuana causing a longer-lasting effect than tobacco," Matthew Springer, professor of medicine at UCSF, said in a statement.
AB 2300 does not address medical marijuana vapor use and Wood said it does not prohibit the use of cannabis oil or marijuana edibles. Current law prohibits medicinal marijuana users from smoking within 1,000 feet of schools, on a school bus or while inside a moving vehicle.
A study released this month by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that 82 percent of Los Angeles apartment residents would support smoke-free policies and that 80 percent feel they are not currently protected from secondhand smoke.
The California Cannabis Industry Association said that while it hasn't taken an official position on the bill, it is worried about the potential impact on medicinal marijuana users.
"This is another bill based around the fact that medical cannabis users are second-class citizens," the association's legislative director Nate Bradley told Courthouse News.
The California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said it is neutral on the bill but will lean toward supporting it if amended to allow medical marijuana vapor use.
The California Association of Realtors and several county apartment associations testified in support of AB 2300. It will next be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.