San Francisco Seeks Exemption From Smoking Ban For Marijuana


It’s funny how the worlds of tobacco prohibition and drug legalization overlap.

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Smoking anything other than medically-prescribed marijuana at San Francisco street fairs, festivals and other outdoor events held on city property would be banned under new legislation before the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Eric Mar said he introduced the proposal because of the health impacts of secondhand smoke when people light up in public.

“It’s widely known that secondhand smoke is responsible for as many as 73,000 deaths among non-smokers each year in the United States, and there is no safe level of exposure,” he said.

You can’t make this stuff up.

I guess I’m one of those silly, liberty-minded people who think the government ought not be in the prohibition business at all whether we’re talking about tobacco or marijuana.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • OldConserv2011

    So it’s a bad thing for me to breathe second hand tobacco smoke and quietly die of lung cancer, but it’s not a bad thing for me to breathe second hand pot smoke and then go get in my car and kill someone while I’m under the influence of the pot?
    Even the most imaginative writer couldn’t make this stuff up. Only from the mind of liberals!

    • badlands4

      It is ironic isn’t it? I admit I know zero about pot and whether you exhale it at all, however if you do exhale, the irony of it being okay to breathe in second hand pot but not second hand tobacco is amazing.

  • robert108

    A stoned populace is a compliant populace. Free, self-actualized individuals don’t need drugs to deal with reality. More leftist incrementalism.

    • Rob

      I like it how you talk about freedom while you’re opposing freedom, Big 180. It always makes me laugh.

      • Neiman

        Freedom cannot be absolute. You are NOT free to murder me! You are not free to murder me with second hand smoke, those wanting not to be murdered by your tobacco smoke have a right, as the majority, to move about the country, with adequate warnings and reasonable allowances for you lung polluters to light up, to be free from such lung pollution. We are free from you killing us while driving while high on weed and don’t tell me it does not happen.You are not free, as a minority, to force the majority to redefine marriage to include people of the same gender just because you choose that perverse sexual lifestyle.

        Freedom is not absolute, it comes with certain reasonable limitations agreed to by the majority, it comes with you being made to be responsible for how you exercise your idea of freedom that, it does not deny me my freedom from your perversions.

        • Rob

          So your choice to be around me means I have to stop smoking?

          Not that I smoke (I hate it) but you’ve got a strange concept of freedom.

          • Neiman

            I know you do not smoke tobacco, but saying you did, if you go out into public, even into private businesses; it is not my wanting to be around you, God forbid; but our sharing public places and accommodations accessible to everyone and therein, since only you are exposing anyone to danger or offensive behavior, it is you that being responsible, must face reasonable restraints on your freedom to act against public decency or health. I do not believe in socialism and hate using a word even hinting in that direction, but as human beings we engage in social contracts, wherein you may not inflict the negative consequences of your free actions on me or mine, denying us our freedom thereby.

            Those reasonable restraints must be agreed to and enforced, or only the most offensive folk will enjoy any freedom at all. Take San Francisco, only a minority engage in homosexual conduct, even fewer in open sexual behavior in public view and for the rest of the citizens and their children, all but the most indecent people would agree that, they should keep their clothes on and their”Johnsons” out of public view. That is, they are not or should not be free to parade their sexually perverse lifestyle in full view or me or my family. They can find places out of public view, where I would not usually venture and sodomize each other to death if they want, just not in front of the rest of the people. I use this as an extreme example of inappropriate use of a public place and a reasonable restriction upon their freedom so it is not exercised at the expense of mine. Just use tobacco, weed, other drugs or other behavior in place of homosexuality and you will get the idea.

          • Rob

            I don’t have a problem with bans on smoking on public property.

            the problem is you banning smoking on private property. Going on someone else’s property is a choice you make. If they allow smoking there, then that’s something you need to factor into whether or not you want to go there.

          • Neiman

            You just don’t have any common sense with such blanket pronouncements.

            There are places, like a grocery store that for a variety of reasons the widest spectrum of the people must visit, in such privately owned places of business, it must be made illegal to smoke therein for the good of everyone. It could be other privately owned business that serve everyone and wherein it is not unreasonable or punitive to say – No smoking here please. On the other hand, a bar for instance is a place people choose to visit, a narrow group of people that want to get a little or a lot high. I have no problem with large signs inside and out saying, “smoking is allowed inside” and the people are warned if they object. Then again, what about employees? People may need these jobs and if they don’t want to starve or they need to care for children, they may be forced to take whatever is available and imperil their health. What about them? Maybe the solution is stated mandated “smoking areas,” where employees need not serve them, but then the employees not wanting to endanger their health are denied the tips that are their real income? In other cases where a person selling a good or service wants customers to meet on private property to conduct business,and the customer must decide it is their health or doing business necessary to their survival.

            So, it seems even in places that are privately owned there is harm to some people because of the freedom of a few; and again, the people through their representatives should decide in a social compact that no smoking should be allowed, even in many private businesses. In others, no one may be harmed and its okay.

        • Rick Olson

          Like one T.V. cop used to say…”Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!” I realize this is a concept that many people just can’t handle or understand, but the laws are in place for a reason. While you may not like a particular law, you however, are still required to obey the law. Until such time as the appropriate legislative body (Legislature, city council/commission) either changes or repeals a law, or the courts intervene to strike down a certain law as being unconstitutional, the smoke free laws are the law of the land, and you must either obey the law, or suffer the consequences for failing to do so.

          • Neiman

            I think of it as reasonable accommodations, agreed to by civilized people so that, the freedom of those engaged in unhealthy, dangerous or offensive behavior are not able to exercise their liberty at the expense of mine and/or my family. If we as a society, nationally or locally agree through our elected representatives, by law, to enact laws of such reasonable accommodations, I believe that idea embodies the spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Founders never saw it as absolute or they would have never passed any laws at all.

          • Rob

            I don’t think it’s reasonable to trample property rights.

          • Neiman

            That is because you are an absolutist and refuse to see that freedom is not always that simple, property rights or not, you cannot be allowed to exercise your freedom by denying me my freedom.

          • realitybasedbob

            Old Pal, are you the Neiman who often demands the freedom of speech has no limits or was that another Neiman?

          • Neiman

            Someone tell Gay Bob, there is a huge difference between free speech and no limits on smoking, the latter in no way fitting into the Bill of Rights -lying scum bag!

  • Onslaught1066

    Could lead to “Contact relief from Glaucoma”.

  • JustRuss

    Except I thought it was illegal to smoke it in public, you can do it at home, you can do it in your car, you can do it in your office (if its not banned for smoking) but you aren’t supposed to be SEEN doing it. Unless the medi laws have changed since I left California. Which is entirely possible.

    The point being, Why would they need to say “except marijuana” when it should be done behind closed doors anyway. Double standards are fun!

    What if I grow my own tobacco and smoke it with none of the added chemicals that make second hand smoke “deadly”? Would it be okay if it just smelled but wasn’t that bad for you? What if I grow tobacco, roll my own cigarettes and make them look like a joint, can I sue for discrimination when they ask me to stop?

    • Neiman

      Good points, all!

    • Rob

      That’s the problem with a lot of the tobacco prohibitionists. It’s not really the health question that’s motivating them (if second hand smoke were as bad as they say we’d have a holocaust of lung cancer in America right now because of all the kids who grew up in smokey homes) but just that it annoys them and they think there ought to be a law.

  • Flyby_Knight

    Let’s make marijuana legal and Marlboro illegal.

    • Rob

      Or let’s just let people make their own decisions.

  • Snickster

    I don’t get this at all. It seems to me second hand smoke of any kind – cigarettes, pot, a tire fire – is bad for you. You are inhaling smoke. I wish they would clarify how burning and inhaling one thing is somehow justifiable over another.

    On another note, OldConserv2011, I have never seen a single story, nor could I find one thru Google, where someone getting an accidental, secondhand dose of pot got behind the wheel and killed someone. Just saying. :)

  • 11B40


    I think that that’s the Board (in need) of Supervisors to which you referred.