Eureka City Council members are good people working for the good of the city, but have they considered all the effects of the new cannabis lounge ordinance and smoking ordinance changes?
They voted Tuesday to weaken the smoking ordinance to allow cannabis smoking in designated smoking areas of cannabis retail facilities. Changes to health ordinances should be made in response to new evidence. However, there is no new scientific evidence that secondhand cannabis smoke is safe for people to breathe. California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act — Proposition 65 — found and current research shows that secondhand cannabis smoke chemicals can cause cancer in humans.
The council also ignored their public health expert’s advice against weakening the smoking ordinance, which currently protects cannabis workers, the public, and potential cannabis lounge neighbors from toxins in secondhand cannabis smoke.
The council’s action sets a precedent, that it’s acceptable to weaken a health protection ordinance without scientific evidence that it’s safe to do so.
Unfortunately, the federal government has also been eliminating health and safety protections in environmental and other health laws without consulting scientists and medical experts or acting on their recommendations.
The 2010 Eureka City Council protected public health when they passed Eureka’s smoking ordinance. The current city council’s decision may be related to the economic pressures facing many cities in these early days of cannabis legalization. However, I hope the Eureka City Council will reconsider and not sacrifice public health for increased profits.
Lin Glen, Humboldt Tobacco Education Network Community Coalition, Blue Lake