As marijuana legalization spreads across the country, more and more people are freely enjoying smoking the plant in the comfort of their homes. Some are using it recreationally, others for medical purposes. Either way, secondhand smoke is affecting people.
Josefa Ippolito-Shepherd is one of them. She is bothered by the smell of cannabis coming from her neighbor’s house into her own. She claims cleaning doesn’t help, and anyone who’s been around weed knows the smoke can be powerful. So much so that the offending aroma affects her sleep and everyday life.
She tried asking her neighbor to stop lighting up indoors. Then she asked the landlord to evict the smoker but that didn’t happen.
Ippolito-Shepherd has lived in Cleveland Park, a residential neighborhood in DC, for 30 years, but claims the attack on it is ruthless, writes The Washington Post.
Until cannabis became legal, she had the option of calling the police and getting her neighbor busted. So what now? According to DC Council chair Phil Mendelson, the only thing she can do to resolve the issue is to undo the legalization of marijuana. That’s why Ippolito-Shepherd took the matter to court where she argued that the smell is a public nuisance.
The trial is considered the first of its kind to make it this far in District court.
“I have the right to breathe fresh air in my home,” Ippolito-Shepherd told The Washington Post before the trial. “I’m not talking about if I go to someone else’s house or a place people go to smoke pot. They have the freedom to do whatever. I just do not want to be invaded in my own home.”
While anti-smoking groups are fighting to outlaw smoking in apartments and residential buildings, the question remains — is this fair for medical marijuana patients? Where will they be allowed to use their medicine?
To complicate matters, Brooke Hoots, an epidemiologist with the CDC, says that secondhand marijuana smoke contains the same cancer-causing toxins as secondhand tobacco smoke.
How can this be resolved to everyone’s benefit? No one knows, but one thing is certain: As more states embrace cannabis, similar lawsuits can be expected.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.