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.
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.