Fresno City Council votes to ban indoor smoking at apartment complexes

KSEE24 News

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Fresno City Council passed an ordinance Thursday which will ban smoking inside all apartment and multi-family housing complexes in Fresno beginning in 2022.

This new ordinance requires all landlords who oversee multi-family housing units to give each unit a copy of the ordinance before the new year.

The ordinance applies not only to cigarettes and nicotine vapes but smoking recreational and medicinal marijuana as well.

“All of our folks who live in multi-family housing have the right to a healthy lifestyle,” said council vice president, Nelson Esparza. “This has been an issue across the city.”

Esparza and Councilmember Tyler Maxwell, who wrote this ordinance, say they pushed for the ordinance in the name public health. Under the ordinance, people can still smoke on personal patios or decks, but not indoors or in other public areas of their complex. The law will be overseen by the city’s code enforcement, which Esparza says will now begin to prepare to enforce this law beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

“In between now and then, the division will be putting together all the different mechanics of how exactly this ordinance will be enforced.”

According to the ordinance, people can face $250-$1,000 in fines depending on how many times they violate the law. Councilmember Mike Karbassi voted in favor of the ordinance but pushed for an amendment for a more lenient policy over medical marijuana.

“I just don’t think that any law we pass today should get between a patient’s right to consume medicinal cannabis,” Karbassa said at the council’s meeting. “In this case in the manner that is proven through comprehensive studies to be the most effective means for them to actually consume that product.”

The ordinance does not restrict other ways to consume cannabis.

Councilmember Garry Bredefeld, who voted against the ordinance, said after the vote the new law would be too intrusive on people’s personal lives.

“It’s their private residence and now we’ve weaponized this with code enforcement which we’ve done with a lot of things in terms of people’s private rights,” Bredefeld said.

Renters will be able to report suspected violations on the FresGo app, on the city’s website or by calling the city’s code enforcement. 

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