As legalization progresses, will Americans tolerate marijuana smells?

It comes to a point where it is almost impossible to be anywhere in the United States and never catch a whiff of marijuana. More than half the nation has legalized the paper for medical and recreational purposes.

Even though cannabis users are not supposed to smoke the stuff in public, the smells seem to be out there and invading everyone’s olfactory senses, whether they like it or not. For some people, the scent of marijuana wafting through the air is not a problem. But the smell can noticeably offend others.

And it’s not just the old-time conservatives who are well-tuned in the way the pot ban takes a stand. Younger people are among those who believe marijuana smells are getting out of hand in this country.

Photo by Tunatura / Getty Images

In a recent tweetKevin Sabat, PhD, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and author of Smokescreen: What the Marijuana Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know, shared a message he received from a 23-year-old resident of Los Angeles, California who was concerned about the invasiveness of marijuana smells.

Not everyone buys stoner logic.

Here is a 23 year old from LA; I get messages like this very often: pic.twitter.com/9OTBccF8cv

– Kevin Sabet (evKevinSabet), May 3, 2021

“I have terrible allergic reactions to secondhand smoke and it used to be tolerable, but since legalization you literally can’t walk two blocks without smelling it in the air,” the message said. “Even in my house I live on a hill, and the neighbor at the foot of the hill, two houses away, smokes so much that it blows up into my back yard. I can’t even enjoy a breazy [sic] Day in the backyard more. I’ve since switched to TN part-time which was better, but I’m afraid they are leaning in the same direction as CA. “

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So far, not much research has been done on how Americans reacted to the increasing smell of marijuana in their forest neck. But some of the limited studies we have on the subject show that most aren’t too crazy for their nostrils to be bombarded with buds in public.

In 2019 a survey Conducted by PSB Research, Civilized, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, and BuzzFeed News, 51% of the population found that public marijuana smells have become problematic. Almost a quarter of the population even went so far as to say that they “hate” if they catch a breath of weed while trying to get something to eat or just hanging out on the street.

Washington State UniversityPhoto by PhotoAlto / Sanna Lindberg / Getty Images

Many cannabis advocates don’t care what non-smoking Americans think of pot smells. In their minds, they have been forced underground with the herb all their lives, and now that it is finally recognized as a legal substance, they refuse to hide any further. Some just don’t admit pot odors is a problem. In response to Sabet’s tweet, some pro-cannabis commentators merely accused him of falsifying the message. “Seems like you just sent yourself a DM and pretended to be a guy who’s 23 from LA, I’m right.” Another commenter also thinks the message is wrong. “Don’t think we don’t know you’re just texting yourself Kevin.”

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In the meantime, we live in a society that often dictates that we compromise on our lifestyle and behavior in order to keep the peace. Alcohol and tobacco are legal nationwide. Still, around 30 states have banned smoking, and in most places Americans cannot stumble around drunk on the street without being jailed. Without rules there is chaos. So far, none of the states that have legalized marijuana have put too much effort into controlling pot odors. You are too busy evaluating the financial benefits to pay proper attention to this detail.

Early on, some local Colorado jurisdictions tried to monitor weed odors, but that was impractical. All in all, the cannabis odor debate just hasn’t sparked enough frantic energy to become a tough target for change. This is mainly due to the fact that cannabis is still illegal under federal law. As soon as this changes, insured groups will come forward and force government controls to find a solution.

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Perhaps there would be some relief if states were serious about finally making cannabis lounges take shape (much like bars). However, many lawmakers argue that it only gets complicated when people gather in public to be stoned.

Unfortunately, the problem of legalizing cannabis is not in a nutshell. It has several levels beyond whether there should be a taxed and regulated market. But just like the nation did with alcohol and tobacco, times will adjust. Still, you can bet that the battle over pot smells is only just beginning.

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