Evicted for Smoking Medicinal Marijuana?

Thursday, January 3, 2013
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James Cerda, a 64-year-old Goleta man, claims he’s being evicted from his apartment — owned by the Santa Barbara County Housing Authority — because he smokes medicinal marijuana to deal with post-traumatic stress. Cerda says the Housing Authority recently imposed new no-smoking rules in his apartment complex, located on Magnolia Avenue. Cerda said he received an eviction notice within the past month and has vowed to fight it. He said he told housing authority officials years ago that he had a medical marijuana recommendation. Cerda said he spent six years in the military, two of which were served in Alaska. A graduate of UCSB and onetime county social service worker, Cerda said he’s lived in his current apartment complex — off and on — for more than 10 years. Because of holiday schedules, no one from the Housing Authority was available to comment. The Santa Barbara City Housing Authority, however, does not — as a policy or practice — seek to evict tenants who consume medical marijuana.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I have heard that pot can come in many forms besides one ignited and inhaled.

Smoking inside an apartment indeed affects the other dwellings and contaminates the inside of the current apartment.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 8:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How about simply "evicted for smoking"? Just because you have a "prescription" for something, it doesn't mean you're exempt from the rules. I have a license to drive, but it doesn't mean I have the right to drive as fast as I want, wherever I want.

The man gets subsidized housing at rates the rest of us could only hope to enjoy. How about being grateful for that?

sbdude (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 9:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There may be a number of reasons a landlord doesn't want the smoking of anything, especially marijuana in his units.

There is an increased fire hazard with smokers. This also may increase the landlord's fire insurance rates.

Other tenants may complain about the smell. Also, if one tenant smokes pot in his apartment, the manager may have a difficult time telling other tenants they can't smoke legal cigaretts.

Asset forfeiture is possibility if a landlord knowingly permits illegal drug use/sales on his property.

I have nothing personal against marijuana, just the headaches caused by allowing tenants to use it in their apartments.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 9:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I forgot the dirt and smell caused by smoking when a tenant vacates an apartment. It requires extra cleaning to remove the smell.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

PTSD? From what? Sounds like BS to me and a way to the "devil weed."

whatsinsb (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 10:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

CA landlords have always had the ability prohibit tobacco smoking on their properties, both in the residences and in common areas (tobacco smoking is not a legally protected activity). To clarify this, CA Senate Bill 332 codified this and went into effect in 2012.

That law may have motivated Towbes and other large landlords to prohibit smoking in their properties last year:

But there may be some interesting twists related to marijuana smoking:

However, this law firm's opinion is that medicinal marijuana, like tobacco smoking, is not a protected activity in CA:

We may need a legal test case in CA before this is settled for good. Other states that have medicinal marijuana laws on the books like Oregon and Washington are also places to look for test cases.

I'd be interested if anyone digs something else up.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 11:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)


I meant to type:

" ... this law firm's opinion is that medicinal marijuana, like tobacco smoking, is not a protected activity in CA when it comes to accommodations for employment or housing."

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 11:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually if you have a prescription you could smoke it in public if you want or need to, and shame on the Housing Authority.
Marijuana is not like tobacco smoke, it doesn't cling.
How it really should bother other tenants more than cooking food is never explained.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 11:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Smoke travels, whether it's tobacco, marijuana, or something even more toxic. Airborne fumes generated in one apartment will spread to adjacent units, thereby subjecting tenants to second-hand whatever. Responsible owners and landlords no longer let one person's smoking - whether recreational or medicinal - impinge on habitability and the health of other residents. Responsible smokers understand that, too. This guy needs to find another way to ingest his drugs, or else take it somewhere else where nobody but himself is impacted.

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 11:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ever hear of ventilation?
How about the sometimes gross many times pungent smells of cooking that emanate from apartments?
How about counselling him as to how to medicate with less impact without rendering him homeless.
And he can smoke out of doors LEGALLY, would that be preferable.
Shame on the Housing Authority and all who support this Draconian measure directly or by handwringing. You can bet there's a lot worse going on in those projects.
Who complained? Some Housing Authority Gestapo distributing fliers?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I sense a market opportunity for a super-concentrated THC delivery system like a pocket asthma inhaler.

Or maybe brownies?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 12:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Give me a break, cannabis smoke is completely harmless and does absolutely ZERO permanent damage to dwellings like tobacco smoke does. Just because you can smell it through ventilation (which is very unlikely) doesn't mean it is having any impact on anything. I lived in an apartment with a tobacco smoker and me and several others smoked copious amounts of cannabis in my room while my roommate smoked cigs in his. At the end of the lease, I had white walls, clean curtains and a nice smelling room while his room smelled of musty cigarettes and had yellowish walls and curtains. If you have a problem with the smell of cannabis, then maybe you should loosen up, or just politely ask your neighbor to open their window or something.

Also, 'whatsinsb', you have some gall considering there are eight times as many veteran suicides as there are deaths resulting from battle overseas. PTSD is real, and cannabis is a safe and effective way to deal with it. People should have every right to use this substance as medicine or recreationally, and shame on you for trying to tell other people what they should and shouldn't use as medicine.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 12:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

EastBeach - I own a e-joint which is like an e-cigarette but uses concentrated cannabis. I bought it at a dispensary in L.A. and if I were to get refills I'd have to go to the dispensary in L.A. because the feds keep shutting down all the dispensaries in SB!!!

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The problem with SB is we have an entrenched political establishment that some people want to dismiss on partisan lines but it in many ways is a generational entrenchment instead.
There was only one County Supe who has voted consistently in favor of medical marijuana patients, Doreen Farr but she gets dismissed when she in fact is ahead of the curve.
Once you stop viewing everything thru partisan glasses the situations and solutions become clearer.
There are people on both sides of the "aisle" locally who condemn Prohibition, more of them need to be running for office. No more unchallenged primaries.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 12:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@loonpt - not sure if your e-joint will work with this, but I found this recipe for making oil refills:

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 1:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This really isn't an issue about marijuana. It's an issue about smoking and the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the tenants.

The fact that it's marijuana that's being smoked is irrelevant except for the possibility that the landlord could suffer the consequences of illegal actions by the tenant.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 2:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No, in reality the issue is that when people who smoke cigarettes inside leave after their lease is up extensive cleaning needs to be done otherwise the rental property loses value because it will smell like a Vegas hotel. That is why some landlords don't allow smoking, but cannabis doesn't have these properties and doesn't leave any permanent mark. I can also see why a private landlord might be wary of illegal activity, however, voters in this state have legalized the consumption of cannabis for medicinal patients so there is no reason a government entity within California should be attacking medicinal cannabis users in their own home.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 3:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As the article indicated, it's common for rent/lease contracts to have a clause prohibiting "illegal" activities in the occupied unit.

The trick there is do you use CA state or Federal law as the reference? I think this ambiguity is one thing landlords are concerned about.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 3:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is all about respect, and if his smoking affects other people in their home and shared space then he should have a little more common courtesy. Vaporizers and air filters work just as well and within financial means.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 9 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree AZ, but did anyone counsel him? Was he given an opportunity to lessen his impact?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 9:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How about he uses another way of consuming the marijuana? I believe there are pills out there too for the same drug. Either way, it should be legal for everyone and should be able to do it in public.

Muggy (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 9:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I used to work with this man and his disability is valid. I have had numerous dealings with the county housing authority and their practices are truly horrible compared to our city housing authority. If his violation of their rules is such a problem, they should do all they can to help him by offering him ways to comply with their rules. To discriminate against him after he'd already informed them years ago about his medical marijuana
recommendation is in very poor taste. I hope he's able to enlist the help of someone like Glen Mowrer to fight this eviction.

buckwheat (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 9:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Advocates for legal pot consumption would help themselves and our pot-consuming friends by not trying to convince everyone that pot smoke and odor is just an imagined problem.

"No smoking" means tobacco, pot, sage, oregano, and anything else.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 9:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Then the same should hold true for pungent foods and body odors.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 10:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

From a practical viewpoint, many folks who live with allergies, asthma, or other upper-respiratory ailements (they are much more common in the population than you'd think) do suffer physically from second-hand tobacco and marijuna smoke. Even smoke from a fireplace will set off symptoms.

But for reasons I don't understand, these people don't suffer the same symptoms from arbitrary "strong odors" (I think it has something to do with smoke being a combustion product and the chemicals in the smoke).

To ignore the effects of second-hand smoke isn't being fair to a lot of people. But I wouldn't deny THC to those who need it either. There needs to be a middle approach here.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well said, EastBeach. Pot proponents don't seem get the fact that some people find the smell nauseating, and others are actually as allergic to it as to cigarette smoke. Pot fumes trigger headaches and respiratory problems that curry doesn't. So use is not the issue so much as imposing its results on unwilling bystanders is. If legal users in multifamily dwellings that still tolerate smoking on the property want to install filtered exhaust systems that capture the smoke and keep it from passing through walls and windows, then puff away - so long as the place has fire sprinklers.

anemonefish (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 2:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think if you could smell a former neighbor of mine's cooking, you would all agree that indeed you could get very ill. I'm not trying to be sarcastic!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 2:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken- Counsel him on being rude to other tenants? Or on his smoking?

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 3:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Please correct me if I'm wrong but where in the article does it say other tenants complained?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 3:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't know what culture this cuisine was from, but a neighbor's vinegared chicken made me want to run whenever I passed their apartment.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 5:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It might not specifically name an aggreived party, but those rules are in place to keep the peace among tenants. It doesn't say that they found marijuana smoke offensive, just the smoking.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
January 6, 2013 at 8:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That doesn't make sense. How can one be offended by the inhalation of gases while claiming not to be offended by the gas themselves. I think they'd better produce properly dated complaints from other tenants. Otherwise it just sounds like Pedro Nava is roaming the halls looking for someone to harass.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 6, 2013 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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