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Does the Smell of Marijuana Smoke Violate Your Rights?

In the immortal words of Lynyrd Skynyrd: “Ooooh that smell, Can’t you smell that smell?” Ever since recreational marijuana sales got started earlier this month in Washington state, some residents have been complaining that they cannot relax in their backyard without having their olfactory receptor assaulted by their neighbor’s burning nugs.

In a recent report by KATU-2 On Your Side, a Vancouver woman, who requested to remain anonymous, told reporters that with the passing of Initiative 502, which gave marijuana users in the state the right to legally smoke weed, she feels that her rights as a non-user and the rights of others like her have been disregarded. “This is something that needs to be talked about, people’s rights are being violated by the people who have been given the right to smoke pot,” she said.

In an attempt to hash out the issue, the disgruntled woman recently took to the social network to air her grievances. “I just have to say that it really sucks that I have such a nice backyard that I cannot fully enjoy because when the neighbors start smoking their “legal” pot it always ends up in my backyard. It stinks so bad. I am not pleased right now at all,” reads her Facebook post.

Although marijuana enthusiasts often argue they should be able to consume cannabis in any venue where alcohol is permitted, this woman strongly disagrees. “Some people equate smoking pot to alcohol, but I can sit out here on my back deck and have a beer, and nobody knows the difference. You can smell the difference with pot,” she said.

Members of Washington’s retail marijuana market say they are sympathetic to the idea that second-hand marijuana smoke might not be a pleasing odor for everyone, but they believe most of the complaints are simply growing pains. “I understand it’s a new smell, and some people will be a little uncomfortable with it,” Kyle Stetler, with Main Street Marijuana told KATU. “There will be some people who are down on it, but eventually I think people will calm down and get used to it.”

As of right now, residents have no choice but to deal with it. The only stipulation for pot consumption outlined in Initiative 502 is that marijuana is not allowed to be consumed in public view. There is nothing written in the legislation or any local ordinances on the books that cover the issue of second-hand smoke or even the odor of marijuana drifting across the neighbor’s fence.

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However, as with anything else, enough complaints from residents offended by the odor of nearby marijuana smoke could force cities across Washington to establish ordinances against outdoor cannabis consumption. “With any new law there are always gray areas, always evolution, things that come up that need to be addressed, questions that weren’t asked until after the law was passed,” said Vancouver police representative Kim Kapp. “We just go by the only law we have, and that’s don’t smoke in public and don’t drive under the influence.”

In the meantime, we encourage all Washington residents to just kick back and enjoy the air — it’s the smell of freedom.

Mike Adams
Written By

Mike Adams is a High Times Staff writer hailing from the darkest depths of the Armpit of America—Southern Indiana.



  1. Avatar

    Shelly Isra

    September 27, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    i have to disagree. I believe pot should be illegal again. people who don’t need it smoke it all day every day to the point their lives can’t exist without it. people can’t go outside, hell they can’t even enjoy inside their own house because people are potheads. it is sickening that those of us who prefer to live life normally and not high as a kite suffer because people are rejects and “have to have it”

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    September 30, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    They have to do something. As I sit here at my desk my neighbor (apt) is toking it up every 20 minutes or so and it stinks. I have to put up with this for days at a time. She sometimes gives us a break but it has gotten too much. Windows are closed and it helps but it still smells so bad. I have asthma and this doesn’t help me at all. I have rights too. You can complain so long.. The landlord makes promises that never happen. I mean really how much pot do you need daily? How stoned can you get? Cope with life like everyone else. How she holds down a job is beyond me.

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    May 29, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    I think the author of this piece needs to read up on his law. When your neighbor can smell it (unless he smells it from inside your house), it creates a civil suit in the making. Smoking weed in the backyard when it is reasonable to assume that your neighbor will have to smell it interferes with full use of the person’s property. It’s not illegal, but it IS civilly actionable.

    We know this because we’re in the midst of it right now with our white trash renters a few doors over. Smoke your welfare weed inside with the windows closed, you inconsiderate jerk.

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