Freedom from pot smoke

Marijuana users need to regulate their smoking behaviors.

Ronald Dixon

I am a firm believer in the notion that an adult should have the right to smoke recreational marijuana without the fear of the law. However, smokers must do so responsibly.

Along this line of thinking, the city of Denver is considering a new ordinance to punish the smell or sight of marijuana.

If Minnesota were to pass the medicinal marijuana legislation on the docket in 2014, then lawmakers should use Denver as an example to couple smoking rights with laws punishing invasive smoke.

The law reeks of an anti-marijuana mentality, thinly veiled under a nuisance ordinance. This may be a sign for fight back in states that have recently passed marijuana legislation, but the law offers valuable questions.

My girlfriend lives in a duplex across the street from Hamline University, where the residents of the lower levels of the house smoke pot on a daily basis. The smoke invades the higher levels, where my girlfriend and her roommates live.

There is no doubt in my mind that marijuana will, eventually, become legal in Minnesota, despite Gov. Mark Dayton’s opposition.

When this happens, Minnesota should formulate a three strikes law for pot smokers who negatively impact the lives of others. This would protect the rights of individuals to smoke and yet also defend the rights of those who wish not to have their home smell of marijuana for hours on end.

THC, the signature chemical in marijuana, may be detected in people who have inhaled secondhand smoke, which could affect those taking drug tests.  More simply, the smoke spreads carcinogens, damaging one’s brain and lungs like cigarette smoke.

Despite the national trend toward legalization, marijuana still has a stigma to it. Through secondhand smoke, smelling of or simply being connected to marijuana by association could seriously affect someone’s personal or professional life.

I support the expansion of marijuana laws, but when smoking has a negative impact on the lives of others, there should be a law that ensures the punishment of problematic perpetrators.