Springfield Housing Authority banning pot smoking on their property

Marijuana added to list of prohibited smoking items

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – All Springfield Housing Authority properties are smoke-free, and that now explicitly includes a ban on smoking marijuana.

The SHA’s Board of Commissioners recently voted unanimously to include marijuana among its prohibited smoking items. The ban, which is similar to their ban on tobacco smoking and use of e-cigarettes, is effective both indoors and outdoors on SHA properties.

Esther Fletcher of Springfield told 22News, “You still see people smoking in the porches, and around this area. This is supposed to be a smoke free environment. Is it? I don’t think so, not very much. So smoking marijuana…”

Massachusetts voters decided to legalize marijuana for recreational use during the November election, with the law taking effect last month. Though it may be legal to have (10 ounces or less of) marijuana on hand, SHA Executive Director William Abrashkin said that it is the preference of residents and staff that smoking not be allowed on their property.

“Although the evidence is that marijuana smoke is far less toxic than tobacco smoke, the smoke can be disagreeable for other residents and interfere with their enjoyment of their homes,” Abrashkin said.

“In addition, to young children, smoking is smoking, and we are trying to give our kids an example of a healthier lifestyle that will serve them well as they grow up. For these reasons, our policy was amended to include not only smoking tobacco, but also marijuana.”

The SHA said the regulation was passed to specifically address smokable marijuana, and the new rules do not apply to other forms of cannabis, such as marijuana edibles. The Springfield Housing Authority maintains nearly 2,400 units of public housing, at 27 sites across the city.