Q & A: Can I prevent a neighbor from smoking weed because it’s wafting into my kids room?

Question: Everyone knows that marijuana is now legal in California, and like many other people, that means that many of my neighbors are taking the liberty of partaking. I have noticed the smell of marijuana smoke in the bedroom where my toddler sleeps every night. The back porch of my neighbor’s house is just a few feet away from the back of my house, and the smoke from his smoking behind the house inevitably drifts toward my home.

Do I have no choice but to keep every window in my house closed? Is there any way to legally compel my neighbor to stop smoking marijuana behind his house? It isn't that I don't think that people should be able to do what they want, but the smoke is drifting directly into my toddler's room. I needed it to stop yesterday!

Answer: First and foremost, have you spoken with your neighbor about the problem? If you explain the situation civilly, it is possible that he may not even be aware that the smoke is drifting through the window, and he may voluntarily begin smoking in front of his house or somewhere else. Since taking part in legal measures regarding marijuana smoke can strain any relationship, you may want to consider merely talking about the situation with your neighbor in a respectful way before taking further steps.

Another more informal manner of attempting to resolve the issue would be through mediation. Mediation doesn’t come with the same price tag as going to court, but it still affords the benefit of a neutral third party, who can help resolve a complicated issue. The mediator can help everyone involved find a positive solution. It can be especially helpful with problems that are not necessarily financially related, such as a dispute that has arisen between neighbors over marijuana smoke.

If you still want to attempt to pursue legal action, it is essential to note that state law in California does dictate that marijuana is legal to smoke recreationally. Although a person is not permitted to smoke marijuana in public, they are allowed to smoke in places where the general public is not able to go. In most cases, a court would consider a back porch to fall within this category.

Another strategy to use a legal action to deal with marijuana smoke disputes would be to argue that the smoke constitutes a nuisance that justifies a civil suit. Something or some condition that is so dangerous, offensive, or obstructive that it compromises one’s ability to utilize their property for its intended use may qualify as a nuisance.

If you believe other avenues will be ineffective in dealing with your issues regarding marijuana smoke and your neighbor, consider the benefits that come with having a qualified legal team on your side. Contact Tenants Law Firm, and we can offer you the benefit of our experience to help you get the best chance at achieving your desired outcome regarding your neighbor’s marijuana smoke.