Vallejo City Council votes in favor of non-smoking ordinance Ban in multi-use residences includes cannabis

California’s Times Herald reports

On Tuesday night, the Vallejo City Council decided to bring the wet matches.

With Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell and councilmember Hakeem Brown recused, the council voted 4-1 in favor of an ordinance prohibiting smoking in and around multi-use residences and other accessible places. The lone no vote came from councilmember Cristina Arriola.

The new ordinance amends Chapter 7.68 of the Vallejo Municipal Code — Regulation of Smoking in Public Places and Work Places.

The proposed amendments are designed to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in multi-unit residences which house many of the city’s most vulnerable residents, according to the city staff report.

It states that secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing contributes to tobacco-related health inequities. The report gives the example that in California, when compared with adults who live in single-family homes, adults who live in multi-unit housing are more likely to be people of color; lower income or below the poverty line; and/or uninsured. Additionally, secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing is a significant threat to the health and safety of children.

The issue was brought up with an hour of comments two weeks ago, but the council decided to delay on the issue due to only four council members being present to vote at the time. While the issue seemed to be split at the April 26 meeting, the majority of the public speakers this time seemed to in favor of passing the ordinance, although many speakers wanted the ordinance re-written to remove cannabis. Many of the public speakers argued that many patients needed cannabis for medical purposes and weren’t allowed to smoke it in any other place.

But for many like Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga, the issue was an easy decision and she thanked many people including many young students for bringing up the subject even when it was “unpopular.”

“It’s a moral duty for me to support this ordinance without an exemption,” Verder-Aliga said. “It’s a slam dunk for me. I didn’t not flinch when this came to the council … I had a dad who smoked until the age of 65 and he quit because he wanted to live longer. Thank God he lived to 94. There are smoking sensation classes in the county and please take advantage of that.”

That was the same for councilmember Katy Miessner.

“My mom stopped smoking in her house because she didn’t want the nurse to find out,” Miessner said. “So she went out on the porch and smoked. If my mother could do it … so in honor of my mom, I’m supporting this. I want to thank the youth that came out and spoke, you guys are awesome and keep up the great work.”

Public speaker Joseph Hayden was in favor of the ordinance as well.

“I was a huge supporter for the decriminalization of (cannabis),” Hayden said. “So the fact that some people are still trying to say that this is an anti-cannabis bill just doesn’t sit well with me. Second-hand smoke of all kinds can drift throughout a multi-use housing building through doors, windows and hallways, baseboards and ventilation systems, light fixtures, etc. Smoke is smoke.”

Public speaker Brian Davis, who has lung disease and runs LGBTQ Minus Tobacco, urged cannabis smokers to attempt to buy inhalers and said even if they are tough to find.

“Their use not only protects the health of neighbors, but also are healthier for the user,” Davis said. “Twenty seven dollars, you can get them for at a retailer in Oakland. And these are harder to find but they can be ordered wholesale by Vallejo cannabis dispensaries via a link.”

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