Is Legalized Pot Possession Infringing on Rights by Churning Stomachs?

Pot Possession

Ever since Washington State legalized recreational marijuana sales and pot possession in the passing of Initiative 502, some residents have been complaining—but not about what you’d think. It seems that neighbors of marijuana smokers have had their olfactory receptors assaulted by pungent pot smoke, and they say it’s infringing on their rights.

In a recent report, an anonymous Vancouver woman told reporters that she felt that her rights as a non-smoker have been disregarded in lieu of the new pot possession laws, saying, “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.”

The disgruntled woman even took to Facebook to “air out” her grievances about pot possession and outdoor smoking in a post saying: “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.”

Marijuana enthusiasts argue that the law now states that anyone over the age of 21 can consume cannabis in any venue where alcohol is permitted. She strongly disagrees, saying “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.”

Although marijuana retailers are sympathetic to the fact that not everyone finds marijuana to be a pleasing odor, they attribute her complaints to nothing more than societal 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 explained. “There will be some people who are down on it, but eventually I think people will calm down and get used to it.”

As nauseating as it is for some, they have no choice but to deal with the situation. As of now, there is nothing in Washington’s legislation or any city ordinances on the books that covers the issue of second-hand smoke or even the odor of marijuana.

Things are looking up for any non-user with marijuana friendly neighbors, however. Marijuana breeders in Vancouver recently began manipulating the DNA of hundreds of strains of marijuana in hopes of creating a new generation of scentless cannabis for the people suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Otherwise, with enough complaints from residents, cities all across Washington could establish ordinances against outdoor marijuana smoking.

“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.”