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Questions about neighbors smoking weed.

By CovfefeButDeadly following x   2018 Aug 12, 5:16pm 587 views   25 comments   watch   sfw   quote     share    


This is a serious question and I'm not sure anyone will know the answer but its worth a shot....

I have a neighbor who smokes weed. I don't get most of the smell from it, but occasionally some wafts in. However I was in my next door neighbors unit and the smell was horrific. She said that its basically nonstop. I asked her how she deals with it and she said she had to close her windows on that side and get a portable AC unit. This particular day she had opened the windows up because she had burned something she was cooking earlier.

This, to me, is potentially compensable damages. Plus I think maybe punitive damages. Basically the offending individual should be the one that has to close off his windows when he lights up, rather than push the issue onto neighboring individuals. Anyone think a small claims court would go for this? Also, how would you prove this? I doubt any LE agency in CA is responding to a complaint of a neighbor smoking weed.
1   Aphroman   ignore (6)   2018 Aug 12, 5:53pm   ↑ like (3)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The government should use taxpayer money to eradicate that pot smoking liberal! Just as the Founding Fathers intended
2   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Aug 12, 6:01pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Clearly the solution is for the smoker to share with your next door neighbor. She would definitely chill out. Alternately, she could suggest edibles to the guy.

But seriously, I have a neighbor who poisons the whole neighborhood by burning wet wood. The police won't deal with it because fireplaces are legal and they say he actually has the right to annoy the neighborhood that way, increasing everyone's cancer risk. People talk about it on nextdoor.com, but he still does it. The only recourse is on "spare the air" days, when it's forbidden to use the fireplace.

BTW, woodsmoke is pretty deadly, much worse than tobacco smoke. Pot smoke is strangely harmless for the most part. I don't understand it, but no one can seem to prove that pot smoke causes lung cancer.
3   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:10pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
Clearly the solution is for the smoker to share with your door neighbor. She would definitely chill out. Alternately, she could suggest edibles to the guy.

But seriously, I have a neighbor who poisons the whole neighborhood by burning wet wood. The police won't deal with it because fireplaces are legal and they say he actually has the right to annoy the neighborhood that way. People talk about it on nextdoor.com, but he still does it.

BTW, woodsmoke is pretty deadly, much worse than tobacco smoke. Pot smoke is strangely harmless for the most part. I don't understand it, but no one can seem to prove that pot smoke causes lung cancer.

The only recourse is on "spare the air" days, when it's forbidden to use the fireplace.


Any smoke is dangerous for the lungs, some more than others depending on what they contain, but generally it's never good to inhale any form of smoke, even water vapor or some vaping tobacco will reduce your lung function over time. In the greater scheme of things second hand smoke though is not that harmful (unless you're in the same room), compared to general pollution and other hazards. In the SFBA there are whole communities and many multi-unit housing entities where smoking is completely forbidden and it's apparently legal: https://www.changelabsolutions.org/publications/no-right-to-smoke-CA (there's also a federal version for this)
I'd try talking to that neighbor first but I'm pretty sure she would win easily in small claims court which is a pretty (cost-)effective form of settling smaller claims, but I think the limit used to be 5k so maybe it's a bit higher now. Above that limit you have to go to a "real" court.
4   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:15pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
BTW, woodsmoke is pretty deadly, much worse than tobacco smoke.


Yeah it produces far more particles than tobacco smoke and most cigarettes usually have filters as well.
5   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:17pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

CovfefeButDeadly says
Anyone think a small claims court would go for this?


Zero chance they care.
6   Tenpoundbass   ignore (11)   2018 Aug 12, 6:19pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

The neighbor should get a window unit and close his shit up and burn out all he wants.
Smoking in Multifamily Units should be illegal. At least would motivate the Pot smokers to stay on the down low.

I don't see Legalized Pot making it a whole generation before there is severe backlash and the pendulum swings back the other way.
People don't respect those that don't smoke it.
7   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:21pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

CBOEtrader says
CovfefeButDeadly says
Anyone think a small claims court would go for this?


Zero chance they care.


They don't have to as long as you have proof of serve and make an appointment you will win, at least here in CA. I had to go twice 2 decades (one time just for myself and one time as partial plaintiff) and it was won within less than an hour (the cases were relatively clear). I was super skeptical but changed my mind after that and think it's a good institution preventing real courts from getting clogged with small stuff, saving taxpayer money.
8   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:22pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Tenpoundbass says
The neighbor should get a window unit and close his shit up and burn out all he wants.
Smoking in Multifamily Units should be illegal. At least would motivate the Pot smokers to stay on the down low.

I don't see Legalized Pot making it a whole generation before there is severe backlash and the pendulum swings back the other way.
People don't respect those that don't smoke it.


Agreed.
9   HEYYOU   ignore (18)   2018 Aug 12, 6:23pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Get upwind on a windy day & release some skunk or other wonderful aroma.
Someone will shut their windows.
10   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Aug 12, 6:43pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Can I sue my neighbor in small claims court for filling the neighborhood with smoke from his fireplace?
11   APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   ignore (34)   2018 Aug 12, 6:43pm   ↑ like (2)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Second the asshole lights the spliff, pour gasoline over a pile of old tires and torch 'em up.
12   CBOEtrader   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:45pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

mell says
They don't have to as long as you have proof of serve and make an appointment you will win, at least here in CA.


Wait, what? So you dont have to have proof of damages or a transgression, just proof of papers served?
13   FPBT   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:46pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
Can I sue my neighbor in small claims court for filling the neighborhood with smoke from his fireplace?


Yes you can. Will you win is a different question.
14   FortWayne   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 6:47pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

If it’s causing you harm you can ask them to stop or sue. Court system is built for that purpose.

I don’t know of any legal precedents one way or another. That’s usually how it gets determined.
15   Booger   ignore (1)   2018 Aug 12, 7:02pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

How does one prove this in court?
16   Patrick   ignore (0)   2018 Aug 12, 7:04pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I suppose by collection of evidence over a long period of time, showing that:

1. He's the guy creating the smoke.
2. The smoke is very harmful to human health at the concentrations he creates in the neighborhood.
17   MisterLefty   ignore (0)   2018 Aug 12, 7:21pm   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
Can I sue my neighbor in small claims court for filling the neighborhood with smoke from his fireplace
A verifiable health hazard. The small particles can kill. But can you sue someone for second hand cigarette smoke? Can you sue drivers of smelly diesel trucks, equally dangerous to your health due to small particle discharge?

https://www.epa.gov/burnwise/wood-smoke-and-your-health
18   Automan Empire   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 7:36pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

There are easy technical solutions to this issue.

A whole house exhaust fan in the attic would work a treat.

If the pot smoking neighbor is cooperative, anything to create a slight negative air pressure in his unit; any kind of exhaust fan.

Absent cooperation, the neighbor with the smoke intrusion problem could create slight positive air pressure in their unit with say a window fan.
19   lostand confused   ignore (0)   2018 Aug 12, 7:56pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

In CA if you fart too much, your neighbor will probably sue you for global warming!
20   mell   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 8:13pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

CBOEtrader says
mell says
They don't have to as long as you have proof of serve and make an appointment you will win, at least here in CA.


Wait, what? So you dont have to have proof of damages or a transgression, just proof of papers served?


You should have proof of the occurrence, maybe a witness or two. It's similar to constantly playing loud music I'd assume, at least in a multi-tenant unit or condo. But yeah, there is a bias: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1112.htm (number 6, generally if you do nothing the judge most likely will rule in favor of the person suing you).
21   RC2006   ignore (0)   2018 Aug 12, 8:31pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Why go after the pothead with no money, go after the owner.

It's a win win you get money and or pothead gets kicked out.
22   FPBT   ignore (2)   2018 Aug 12, 9:35pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

lostand confused says
In CA if you fart too much, your neighbor will probably sue you for global warming!


Unless one captures the farts and turns them into energy!
23   Ceffer   ignore (1)   2018 Aug 13, 1:19am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

You don't collect damage from allegation alone. You will have to demonstrate that the incident actually occurred, with some kind of proof, preferably with another witness(es), a picture of smoke exiting the offender's property etc. and that the smoke enters your property/household and is a chronic, ongoing nuisance. You might also have to demonstrate that you made efforts to resolve the issue directly with the person, without success, rather than just complaining to the court, or that you exhausted other modalities i.e. homeowner's association, condo association etc.

If you can't demonstrate harm, and you can't put a realistic price tag on it, you won't get anything. You have to describe the harm i.e. note from doctor that you have allergies, sensitivities to smoke etc. You might only get a restraining order, which, upon demonstrated violation, might get you something at a future date if you keep going back to court with proof that the restraining order is being violated. Not really certain, even, that fines from restraining orders are even paid to complainants unless there is some other demonstrable damage proven.

Otherwise, you will have to have some kind of ordinance or law. It can be from the homeowner's association, preferably with penalties, but you can't "represent" the homeowner's association. It can be a law otherwise from the city, county, state or fed, preferably with fines or penalties associated. How those fines or penalties are distributed would be up to the judge according to whatever discretion is allowed according to the particular ordinance or law. Again, it might simply be preceded by a restraining order.

In one of my neighborhoods, the homeowner's association doesn't want to stir up bad blood by getting involved in stuff. There have been four restraining orders of neighbor on neighbor in the past few years, with another one pending over cigarette butts and smoke. Sometimes, the restraining order itself is enough legal spanking to satisfy an aggrieved neighbor.

You would probably be best off approaching the individual and cooperating on some kind of fan or other method to keep the smoke away from your home.

If smoking pot is still illegal where you are, you could just turn him over to the cops, but that would no longer be a civil matter, and it is probably unlikely these days that cops or DA's are interested in personal use cases.

You could also just succeed in really pissing him off, in which case you could trigger an ongoing blood feud with covert property damages etc. I don't think I would want to go down that road and really start being harassed by a triggered dirtbag.

I had a friend who used small claims routinely, but went in always prepared. You don't just waltz in and get a judgment. Even if you do, there is still the thorny matter of actually collecting. If you have a judgment, you could use a collection agency, who will exact a large percentage. It is unlikely a collection agency will waste their time, though, if the amount is not enough. You might have to go so far as investigating the individual's resources, job, etc and issuing liens/garnishments, another time consuming paper chase, if there is anything even there to collect. Wiley debtors are experts at avoiding payment.

As these things go, the legal runarounds tend to result in bad blood between the parties, and lots of time/energy wasted for foolish validations and probably un-collectable monies. There is nothing keeping they guy form suing you, too, on some trumped up allegation.

Maybe you'll get a mean judge who will immediately order a sheriff to drag him out of his house, taze him on the front lawn, confiscate his stash and flush it, shake him down for punitive damages by auctioning his property and hand the money to you, put him in jail, etc., but that is a fantasy of what you could ever hope to accomplish, and the system works both ways because he could sue you, too, and the sheriff could be knocking on your front door with the taser.
24   Tenpoundbass   ignore (11)   2018 Aug 13, 8:29am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Booger says
How does one prove this in court?


Call a Public Notary, and have them witness they smell pot coming from their apartment.
The grounds for being sued would be, people are still subject to piss tests at work and contact high is a serious thing.

A person shouldn't piss dirty by smelling their neighbors weed one day. But if the neighbor smoked every day, every few hours for a few months or even maybe weeks.
It might accumulate enough THC in their fat to piss dirty.
25   Quigley   ignore (0)   2018 Aug 13, 9:25am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Patrick says
Can I sue my neighbor in small claims court for filling the neighborhood with smoke from his fireplace?


The solution is simple. Get an old blanket you don’t mind losing and stuff it down his chimney. His whole house will fill with the smoke he’s been giving you. Hell it might even catch on fire and burn down. Evil... yah might be a bit much.




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