For some people, owning a home is one of their lifelong aspirations, only second to living out the rest of their days stoned to the bone in a legal marijuana state. Indeed, this level of paradise seems relatively easy to achieve these days, especially since an increasing number of states have voted to legalize the leaf for medical and recreational use.
Unfortunately, the problem some folks are running into, shortly after the last piece of furniture has been pulled off the U-Haul, is that some neighbors are not very pot-friendly and more than willing to file a complaint with the homeowners association the moment the first puff of pot smoke crosses the fence.
Now, while homeowners associations are prohibited from imposing marijuana smoking bans in states where weed has been made legal, the situation has been known to get kind of hairy once Narky the Neighbor witnesses a joint being passed or smells the odor of the herb drifting into his yard. This is when homeowners associations have been known to deem marijuana a nuisance to the community and establish policies that prohibit it in the same manner in which they might ban a someone from displaying a couple of yard gnomes humping on the front lawn.
“The fact that people may be legally entitled to smoke doesn’t mean they can do it wherever they want, any more than they could walk into a restaurant and light up a cigarette,” Richard Thompson, a Portland real estate developer told The Associated Press. “As soon as spring and summer come around, we hear complaints about marijuana smoke because people are out on their patios and they have the windows down.”
No one knows exactly how many pesky homeowners associations have inflicted their reign of terror throughout the nation’s legal marijuana states, but real estate experts say there is a tense Mexican standoff happening between the stoner nation and those plagued by thoughts of their children being transformed into dirty hippies with their first whiff of weed. “What we’re really seeing more now is regulating the associations’ common areas,” such as smoke wafting onto playgrounds or others’ porches, said Erin McManis, an attorney who represents a large number of homeowners associations in Phoenix.
Outlawing marijuana smoke on private property castrates the personal freedoms of law-biding citizens, argued many of those who opposed the Carillo Ranch homeowners association proposal earlier this year aimed at banning people from smoking medical marijuana in their yards. Yet, while the association seemed hell bent on imposing this newfound reefer regulation, they later made the decision to withdraw the proposal because too many residents did not agree with it.
“Coming together and working on issues is something associations have been doing for a long time,” said McManis. “We’re hopeful that’s how it’s going to go forward now with medical marijuana.”
In areas devoid of homeowners associations, residents annoyed with the sights and smells of stoner affairs are shit out of luck. Just last week, a woman in Vancouver, Washington took to the social media to complain about how the smell of her neighbor’s pot was violating her rights as a non-user. “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.
However, Washington’s Initiative 502 does not have any stipulations on the books that protect non-users from the aroma of a neighbor’s outdoor toke and choke rituals – it only prohibits cannabis consumption in public view.
The moral of the story, folks is to avoid homeowners associations at all cost – they can, and likely will discriminate against you for smoking weed outside, and they can even prevent you from cultivating a personal cannabis crop. Unfortunately, this level of knuckleheaded politics will likely continue as long as marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, or until Canadian laboratory, MediJean finally releases that strain of odorless weed.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.