At Mediation Services we have been getting calls like these:
- I’m getting an allergic reaction to all the smoke coming up through the vents – it’s even in my bedroom!
- They smoke outside on their balcony, and it comes right up to me – I can’t enjoy being outside anymore!
- The smoke blows from their porch across into our yard – I don’t want my kids exposed to pot smoke!
Since recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado, there is more exposure to second-hand pot smoke than when people were smoking in private, away from the eyes of law enforcement. Of course, there is still second-hand cigarette smoke to deal with, too. Police usually don’t have authority to do anything about it, as long as the smoker is an adult and is smoking on his/her own property. Some apartment complexes and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) are considering regulating where people can smoke. One difficulty is defining how much odor it takes to be considered a “nuisance.”
It seems to be worst in apartment buildings and condos, where the venting may allow smoke to travel from one unit to another, or where people smoke on a nearby balcony and the fumes spread to sting your eyes and nose.
You are not alone, but what can you do?
- Consider politely asking the smoking neighbors to help. They may not even be aware that their smoke is drifting into your space, and there may be things that both of you can do to mitigate the problem. Air filters, fans, and deodorizers can help. Maybe your neighbor would be willing to smoke inside, then go outside to enjoy their patio, or vice versa. Limiting smoking to certain times may be an option.
- If you have an HOA, ask the board if there are regulations about odor that can be enforced. If not, you can join with other homeowners and try to get some reasonable regulations passed.
- If you live in an apartment or condo building, ask the property manager if there are rules about smoking. Landlords have the legal right to prohibit marijuana use on their premises. Apartment managers may be reluctant to deal with the issue, but if enough people want some restrictions, you may be able to get help.
There is always going to be a certain level of odor in our lives. Not too long ago, it was pigs, cows and sheep. Refineries and other industries frequently produce bad smells. People generally get used to the odors surrounding them, but if it’s too much for you, and the suggestions above haven’t helped, consider mediation.
JCMS offers FREE mediation to Jefferson County citizens and businesses. Mediation is a good way to discuss a dispute reasonably, with a neutral third party (a mediator) to facilitate the conversation. The mediators won’t tell you what to do, give legal advice, or say who is right or wrong, but they are trained to help people with disagreements to work together to find a resolution, instead of having a shouting match. For more information on mediation, go to our website at www.JeffcoMediation.com, or call us at 303.271.5060. Para Espanol, 720-577-5826.