Pot Smoking Neighbor

(WSVN) - He likes to sit in his backyard and relax, but can’t stand the smell of marijuana coming from a neighbor outside who, he says, is smoking pot. Can he stop someone from smoking in their own backyard? That’s why we have Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

William Johnson can tell you why you should treat every day like it’s your last.

William Johnson: “Because I almost died when I had my brain aneurysm. Now I just live life to the fullest, crack jokes, have a good time.”

When William had his aneurysm, doctors said he would not be here today if Cindy hadn’t been beside him that day.

William Johnson: “She actually saved my life, and I can never, ever repay her.”

One way they enjoy each other and their day is by sitting in their backyard with their dog, watching the birds and the squirrels.

William Johnson: “We go outside almost every evening, and we talk, shoot the breeze, might have an adult beverage, a Bud Light.”

William loved those moments, until…

William Johnson: “You smell pot. It’s got that distinct odor.”

William said one of his neighbors must enjoy pot as much as William and Cindy enjoy sitting peacefully in their backyard.

William Johnson: “It almost seems like every single night, every single day of the week, it’s in the air. You’re just smelling it all over the place.”

William is not a smoker. Not cigarettes, not marijuana, and he doesn’t want to have to smell someone else smoking either.

William Johnson: “I’m fed up with it, yeah, because I can’t even go outside and sit and relax and talk to my wife, without the linger of that crap in the air.”

William has several neighbors, so he isn’t sure which one is puffing away, but he’s sure he wants the smoke to go away.

William Johnson: “If they want to do it, why don’t they do it someplace like inside their house? Let them deal with it, not the rest of us.”

One neighbor likes to smoke pot. This neighbor doesn’t like to smell it.

William Johnson: “I’m up to here with it. I can’t take it no more. It’s just never ending, so help me, Howard.”

Well, Howard, legally, can you stop someone from smoking outside if the smoke drifts into your backyard?

Howard Finkelstein: “Marijuana smoking is no different legally than cigarette smoking, and whether you are inside your house or in your backyard, you have the right to enjoy your property. What that means is, if the smoke is excessive and it bothers you, it’s what the law calls a nuisance, and your neighbor has to stop or smoke inside.”

Turns out William is not the only one complaining about marijuana smoke floating into his yard.

The internet is filled with people from around the country wondering what they can do to stop their neighbors from puffing away.

The answer in South Florida?

Howard Finkelstein: “If William can determine which neighbor is smoking the marijuana outside, first ask them to go inside. If they won’t, and the pot is medical marijuana, you might have to ask a judge to issue an injunction to stop the nuisance smoker. If they are smoking it illegally, you can call the police, and they could be arrested.”

William said he is now going to find out which neighbor likes their marijuana in their backyard. When he does, he will ask them to stop. If they don’t, then, he says, he will call the police on them, because he’s tired of the smell.

William Johnson: “On and on and on and on. Where’s it gonna end? When is it gonna end?”

Now, while you have the right to not have excessive smoke blowing in your backyard, legally, your neighbor can still smoke in their backyard if it’s not a nuisance to others. In other words, if they smoke moderately, and if they love to puff away all the time, then they’ve got to do it indoors.

Your chances of solving a problem going up in smoke? Ready to roll in a new strategy? Light up our phone line, and hopefully you can get fired up and puff out your chest with a victory.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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