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.

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.

  1. 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”

    1. Completely correct Shelly. What is not being mentioned is that there is sufficient evidence now to show that people who smoke even a small amount pot are significantly impaired for over 24 hours, long after the high has even worn off.
      Being in Colorado, I can testify that people don’t generally wait over 24 hours of smoking pot before they start driving again, in fact I’ve smelled it while I was even driving down the freeway behind the car where the driver was smoking it.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. It isn’t really enforced though. And we shouldn’t have to go through a lengthy and costly lawsuit… I want to see it illegal again. Yes, they did it anyways, but at least they showered, changed their clothes, and didn’t make me smell it.

  4. Yes. It is horrible. My sinuses have gotten far worse since this stupid substance became legal. People are smoking it before coming to work and are basically non-functional. They “smell up” the offices and hug people leaving the horrible scent on non-smokers.

  5. I have a back yard neighbor who’s house is about 75 feet from the back of my house. I live in Texas where it gets hot as hell in the summer and my house is cooled with window units. The referenced neighbor “cooks” synthetic marijuana several times a week and vents the fumes out his back window. When he isn’t cooking it, he is smoking it. That stuff has an obnoxious chemical smell to it and is very strong. My house is an older one and not what you would call “air tight”. My air conditioners pull the fumes into my house along with what finds it way inside otherwise. Marijuana is illegal where I live and I have called the cops numerous times along with the DEA. They don’t do anything about it. Evidently, with all this Covid 19 scare going on, they don’t want to lock anybody up, so this guy’s drug trafficking goes unchecked.

  6. I suppose I get it…you smokers have always been “persecuted”…though personally I get MUCH more flak from my weed smoking friends for the fact that I don’t smoke than they ever did from me (which was none).

    Laws are irrelevant. People have been smoking weed in their yards for years regardless of legality. I just bought a new home and discovered that the neighbors are total stoners. We haven’t been able to enjoy the yard because it always has that stench. The problem with articles like this, which say “Hey man, just enjoy it. It’s like, freedom baby” are the problem, especially when the comparison is made to alcohol.

    When someone next to me drinks alcohol, I don’t have to smell it, taste it, drink it, or be affected by it whatsoever. When someone is smoking weed, I have no choice but to be assaulted by that vile, disgusting skunk stench. I know you potheads love it, but for the rest of us that stench is absolutely nauseating. Like any legal drug, marijuana needs a mile-long list of extremely tight restrictions. Outside consumption should be at the top of the “no” list.

  7. I would advise the author to visit the landmark Spur Industries v. Del E. Webb Development Co, where the court determined the the offending odor crossed defendant’s property line to plaintiff’s property, and thereby made defendant, Spur industries liable .

  8. I live in same house my adult kids do ages 53 to 38. Three of them. They smoke cigareets and weed inside, Or if out it clings to their house and clothes. I am constantly high because of the…Can’t ..I am allergercent (brain is not working right. I take meds for depression as well as epielsy. Cant spell right now… How do I get them to stop this. They make fun of me and say you can’t do that. No way. I wake up contact high. Go to bed contact high. Help me

  9. 3 asthma people in my house I owned for 10 years . A new renter moved behind me and I’m always nervous when summer rolls around . Now we have a outside pot smoker that we never had in 10 years . Are back yards are small so may back yard stinks ….I know of my husbands friend who only smoked pot over the years cancer and treatment now hope he stop smoking pot ….Alzheimer’s is caused with pot also empazema and copd would not wish that on anyone .there are bad side affects retirement wont be a joy when you get one of these from pot . Don’t want to say I told you so …you are warned …..

  10. I cannot stand the smell of marijuana. It’s a strong skunky smell and I live in an government subsidized housing and a stupid neighbor across the hall stinks up the building. I have seasonal allergies and the smell always some how comes into my space. I have never ever smoked and the apartment complex does not allow smoking inside apartments or even on the property. Some times it makes me dizzy smelling it and I despise it. I hate that it was legalized in the state I live.

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