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Santa Monica’s city council has backed down from an aggressive stance against smoking in apartments and condos.

While a proposed city ordinance which banned smoking in multifamily housing and subjected tenants to fines passed an initial vote, some council members had a change of heart, and the measure failed to get final approval.

Council members say the measure is now on hold.

A main concern for council members, according to a local report, is not banning cigarette smoking, but rather how the strict measure might impact a tenant’s rights to smoke pot under the state’s new medical marijuana law.

The proposed ordinance banned smoking — both cigarette and marijuana, in newly constructed units.  Tenants would have to identify themselves as either smoking or non-smoking, and those who smoked in non-smoking units could face fines as high as $500. After a smoking tenant moved out,  that unit would automatically be designated as non-smoking only.

The council faced criticism over the measure, including an unfavorable  LA Times editorial which criticized the move as an overreach of government, and one that unnecessarily criminalizes those who have what  the paper describes as a “vile and dangerous” habit.

Council members say they are tired of hearing complaints from tenants who get sick from secondhand smoke.

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