Secondhand and Pot Smoke Nuisance – What Can You Do?

A reader recently sent in a lengthy note about the inability to enjoy her own home with the windows open when her neighbors smoked pot or cigarettes. The E-newsletter coming out next Tuesday, June 3,  addresses this issue. There are many things that bring joy to one person but disturb another. You’ve heard the old adage one man’s junk is another man’s treasure (excuse me women!). Perhaps you’ve heard the adage coming out of a homeowners association case from years ago where a board tried to prohibit parking of small pickup trucks used for transportation – which vehicles of course were gaining in popularity at that time about that time, even for women. Here it is: “One man’s bronco is another man’s Rolls-Royce.” The Judges weren’t offended by pickups!

Secondhand smoke is not as difficult to prohibit as marijuana smoke. The first thing someone claims, of course, is that they need marijuana to deal with the pain or any an illness. While that may be true, I believe in another adage is in order,  “Maybe it’s okay for you, but keep it to yourself.

If you’re not familiar with the monthly E-newsletter I send out, then I can tell you that it is generally chock-full of good information and not advertisement. The next edition is all about what you can do about secondhand or pot smoke that is creating a nuisance in your life. Perhaps you have not thought about all of the options I have because my job is looking for solutions.

If you have tried them all or anything else, and it works well, I hope you will write to me and tell me about the situation, so I can share with others. I am willing to go on a campaign to help people avoid having to smell or ingest the smoke of others, whether it be secondhand smoke or pot smoke.

I’m not perfect. I was a smoker in my past. And I was dumb enough to believe that if I smoked outside the car and outside the house my kids could be fooled. Not so. I never found myself in a situation where my cigarette smoke was bothering others, or at least no one said so, but it is a different world today. Everyone is talking about it. I am interested in your stories. I will say, however, that I hear enough of the complaints – I would rather hear more about resolutions, because that is what I want to share. I look forward to hearing from you. And I hope you get signed up for the e- newsletter before it comes, but if you miss the boat, all of my E- newsletters are archived on my website at That is also where you will find both of my blogs and lots of other good information.  I am writing a companion note in my other blog (California Condo & HOA Law) – so – see you there!

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6 Responses to Secondhand and Pot Smoke Nuisance – What Can You Do?
  1. Holland Marshall
    May 29, 2014 | 10:58 am

    You may be interested in this recent Ontario Superior Court judgment over second-hand cigar smoke that was so strong that the unit owner’s insurance company said the unit was uninhabitable.

    The board was very sluggish at dealing with this issue.

    • Beth Grimm
      May 29, 2014 | 5:00 pm

      Oops, looks like the info for the Canada court case is accessible through this information. Thank you Holland!

  2. AG
    May 29, 2014 | 3:37 pm

    In Ontario, Canada, the Human Rights Tribunal has become more formalized and less accessible in its process post Bill 107.Where a lay person will usually be at a disadvantage if they’re not represented by a lawyer.With a second hand smoke complaint, the complainant will find they have to defend their human right to clean air versus a (smoker,property management, or condo board of directors) respondent having to defend their position.This shouldn’t be the case since there’s no human right that states smokers is a protected group, or have the right to smoke.The enclosed court case is important as it identifies the practical steps needed to resolve second hand smoke leakage.Including a condo board’s duty to repair a common element in a timely manner.The successful case should assist others who may need to ask a property managerto a condo board to assess versus ignore a second hand smoke ccomplaint.

    • Beth Grimm
      May 29, 2014 | 4:59 pm

      Thanks for sharing! This information is important. I am not sure how to access the “enclosed” court case. Can you help? And thanks again.

      • AG
        May 30, 2014 | 4:54 am

        For some reason, my court case link didn’t work, but Holland has shared the same.I don’t have any cases, but similar to the U.S.,Canadian non smokers may be able to use tort of nuisance to establish liability . Do you know of any nuisance claims for second hand smoke?

        • Beth Grimm
          June 24, 2014 | 4:00 am

          I’d be happy to research it if you want to pay me. I very much appreciate your input and input anyone has on this subject. There is a lot out there to research and put together. I am swamped, but will find time to do an E-newsletter later in July as a followup with the comments I got about second hand and marijuana smoke. Sign up for the E-news if you want to be in the loop at .