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This Week in Bans: San Francisco Bites Apple for Recycling

Also, medical-marijuana dispensaries are outlawed in L.A., chained-up pooches in Virginia.


Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (last week's edition here):


Outraged that Apple opted out of a certification program for green electronics, called EPEAT, San Francisco earlier this month declared that government employees should not buy any of the company's computers. Background: Apple recently pulled 39 of its products from EPEAT due to the interesting "design direction" in which the tech behemoth is headed. That direction involves gluing the hell out of everything, making the devices nearly impossible to disassemble for recycling, with Kyle Wiens at calling the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro the "the least repairable laptop we’ve ever taken apart." But shortly after San Fran gave Apple the fish eye, the company elected to fix what it called "a mistake" and restore its hardware to the EPEAT list. Now they're golden with the West Coast, says SF Environment's Guillermo Rodriguez: "When Apple elected to withdraw their products from the EPEAT clearinghouse, it triggered a law that says we can only purchase products on that list.... Now that they've elected to come back on list, that means our green-business ordinance allows us to buy them again."


Marcio Cabral de Moura/Flickr

In a worrisome development for lawmaking, the city of Hampton (population about 137,000) banned the tethering of dogs based on the results of an online poll. The coastal 'burg put up the poll for a week and found that more than half of 2,000 respondents thought chaining dogs was "inherently not good for animals," making them miserable or aggressive toward humans. (Seven percent disagreed.) So naturally the informal sampling became a codified ordinance. Next up for Hampton's city council: Ordering Michael Jackson's kids into foster care, because really, that family is crazier than a shaken-up crate of mongooses.


Tha Goodiez/Flickr

Back-pain sufferers, and those who like to pretend they have back pain, are outraged over a new ban on medical-marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. In a huge blow to legalizin' it, on Tuesday the city council passed a unanimous prohibition against the city's roughly 800 weed shops. The ban, which may conflict with a recent California District Court of Appeal ruling that allowed dispensaries to operate in unincorporated L.A., comes after citizens complained of proliferating pot businesses and people puffin' all ultra-chill on the streets. The reaction of netizens has not been exactly compassionate. A Twitter search for “medical marijuana” yields sentiments like, "The LA City Council banned medical marijuana shops. I gotta get my broker on the phone and unload all this Frito Lay stock.” And, "The L.A. has banned medical marijuana shops... pot smokers are staging a protest bright and early tomorrow at 4P.M."

(Top image: Stephen Lam/Reuters)

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.