(Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)

Can California landlords evict their tenants for smoking legal weed?

Can California landlords evict their tenants for smoking legal weed? It’s a question that is currently under debate in California’s state house, where a new bill could codify landlords’ existing rights to prohibit smoking marijuana in their properties — regardless of whether the smoker is a patient who is legally registered to use the drug medicinally.

The proposal was born out of concern that secondhand smoke of any kind is unhealthy, according to Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), who presented the bill. Wood cited recent research by the University of California, San Francisco that “suggests that second-hand cannabis smoke results in similar cardiovascular effects as tobacco smoke, and in fact, may result in as much as a 70 percent drop in blood vessel function,” according to press materials.

“This is about protecting families that live in close proximity to others,” Wood said in the release. “Second-hand smoke can be a real problem, especially for families who live in apartments or other multi-family residencies.”

Medical marijuana-approved tenants could still be permitted to using edibles or oil-based capsules. But if caught smoking, the tenant could be evicted.

“Landlords have the authority to prohibit tenants from smoking tobacco in the home; the same rationale applies for cannabis,” said Wood. “AB 2300 would clarify that this authority applies to smoking cannabis as well.”

Medical marijuana advocacy groups are neutral on the bill, but they’ve requested it include an exemption for vaporizer use.

Wood’s press materials also included a quote from Matthew Springer, professor of medicine in the UCSF Division of Cardiology and a member of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education:

“Tobacco and marijuana smoke share thousands of chemicals that result from burning dried plant material, and many of these chemicals are harmful. The adverse cardiovascular effects of secondhand marijuana smoke have only recently begun to be studied, and we are seeing that 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.”

The bill currently faces the Senate Committee on Rules for assignment this month.