Jul 30, 2014
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Santa Monica Shelves Smoking Ban

New smoking rules are on pause after two Santa Monica City Council members have a change of heart.

Santa Monica Shelves Smoking Ban

Don't put down the lighter just yet.

The City Council failed to put on the books Tuesday night new regulations that would have snuffed out smoking—medical marijuana included—in all newly-constructed apartments and condos in Santa Monica. The rules, which would have also required tenants in existing units to tell their landlords if they smoke, were approved two weeks ago on a 4-2 vote.

But the ordinance required a second vote before becoming law, and in what Mayor Richard Bloom called a "very unusual move," the ordinance failed on its second pass.

"What we’re simply doing is giving more thought to this," said City Councilwoman Gleam Davis, who was absent from the previous meeting.

Bloom and City Councilman Terry O'Day supported the rules July 10, but changed course Tuesday, saying they now believe the council needs to better assess how the smoking ordinance would affect medicinal marijuana users and landlords.

They will revisit the ordinance again in the months to come.

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"I have some concerns about this ordinance as we adopted it and include some of the issues that have been raised to me after-the-fact about medical marijuana users," said O'Day.

"I think the council and the ultimate decision-making will benefit from future discussion regarding medical marijuana," said Bloom.

The ordinance said landlords would be required to keep track and make public where smoking tenants lived.

Units occupied by residents who failed to disclose their smoking statuses would automatically become "non-smoking." Every unit that became vacant after the law were passed, would be designated "non-smoking," regardless of its prior designation. Those who smoke in "non-smoking" units would have faced fines upwards of $100.

Councilman Bob Holbrook said he would not be deterred in his support for the regulations after receiving emails from longtime residents referring to him as a "Nazi" and "Hitler."

"My motive is strictly a public health measure," he said. "It’s just time that we made homes and living spaces safe for people... we [would] certainly save them a lifetime of diseases that’s going to occur for sure."

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