It doesn’t matter where a person is standing in the United States in this day and age — chances are you are going to catch a whiff of marijuana at some point or another.
From Los Angeles to New York City, it’s now par for the course for cannabis consumers to slip outside and catch a buzz, sending that telltale odor wafting through the air and within close enough proximity to the olfactory senses of unsuspecting passersby.
For some people, this is not a problem at all. They might even make statements like, “Uh-oh, somebody’s getting down on some of that loud!” while looking around to see if they can get in on the action. But others are noticeably offended by the bouquet of bud. They wrinkle up their faces and make snide comments to one another about how the whole world has gone to hell in a handbasket: “What on God’s green earth do you think they’re doing to that poor skunk?”
And apparently most people belong to the latter category — the majority of Americans are turned off by the smell of cannabis in the streets. This is the consensus of a recent study from the folks at PSB Research, Civilized, Burson Cohn & Wolfe and BuzzFeed News. They found that more than half of the population (51%) thinks that public displays of the doobie have become a real problem, with some 25% going as far as to say that they actually “hate” getting assaulted by the stench of weed while out on the town.
The Nose Knows
Indeed, as crazy as it might sound, not everyone out there is cool with getting slapped in the face with somebody else’s stoned good times.
In our opinion, it’s a testament to just how miserable the population has become as of late. A recent Gallup poll shows that Americans are some of the most stressed and unhappy folks in the world. Considering there are people in parts of the planet who use a hole in the ground for a toilet and their next meal, if they are lucky, might be a bowl of live cockroaches or a sewer rat, that’s pretty muffed up! Our advice: Get off social media for five minutes, America, and smoke some weed! You will start to feel better about yourselves soon enough.
Although a vast majority of the population is now in favor of marijuana legalization – some are good with it being freed up for medicinal use, others think that prohibition should be dissolved altogether – certain aspects of the cannabis culture just don’t seem to gel with the popular opinion. Perhaps this is the reason residents and county officials come out in droves on the heels of legalization and place bans the cannabis industry from taking shape in their neck of the woods. These people are completely fine with the idea of legalizing an intoxicating plant for those who choose to use it. Hell, they may have even supported the issue at the polls! But they have a tendency to get a little aggro with the concept of the herb popping up too close to their homes.
Presumably, these are the same folks that are now upset over the smell of grass invading their space while they are out shopping or engaging in other boring activities insisted on by fashionable society.
But public pot odors bother some more than others. The smell of cannabis is a “major problem” for 23% of the population, the study finds. Another 28% considers it only a “minor problem.” And interestingly, even in Canada, where marijuana is now legal for recreational use nationwide, marijuana odor is still not welcomed. Nearly 60% of the population in the Great White North are not keen on smelling pot in public.
Give the People What They Want!
So, what is the solution? Maybe it is time for jurisdictions with recreational marijuana laws on the books to get serious about allowing cannabis lounges. As it stands, most of the places where weed is legal only enable people to consume in the privacy of their own homes.
Sure, some select cities are starting to explore the concept of social use, but these situations have a long way to go before they function in a way that appeases the stoned masses.
Not that providing social toking spots is going to remedy the problem entirely — it certainly will not. After all, marijuana is still considered a banned substance across the majority of the United States. Regular cannabis users in those parts of the country are inevitably going to duck out on occasion to get their heads straight. That may be out behind the dumpster of the restaurant where they work, the alley on the way to a bar, or wherever. Stoners are going to get stoned.
We would venture to say that there’s not much that can be done about the problem at this juncture other than pushing the nation into full-blown legalization, creating a scene where marijuana is normal and widely accepted. Only then will public consumption become unnecessary. It could also contribute to a case where the 51% complaining about weed odors now enter the realm of the unbothered.
If we’ve learned one thing from the marijuana movement, it’s that progress on the issue has many faces.
TELL US, how do you feel when you smell cannabis in public?