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Cannabis has a unique and rather pungent smell. Some people describe it as skunky, others absolutely love it. With more and more countries like Canada legalizing marijuana, Cannabis smell is becoming more of an issue in densely populated areas.

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Big Tobacco pushed the idea that "common courtesy" was enough to protect nonsmokers from toxic secondhand smoke, and that smoke-free laws were unnecessary. It wasn't true then, and it's not true today. Even as cigarette use is shrinking across the country, another type of smoking — marijuana — is becoming increasingly widespread in public places, bringing with it a resurgence of secondhand smoke and airborne carcinogens.

Marijuana research report

Individuals should not consume marijuana in ways or places that would harm the health and well-being of others. Much of the conversation around legalizing marijuana has focused on the needs of the user for medicinal or recreational purposes, but there has been little to no discussion about the implications for nonusers.

Supporting decriminalization of marijuana should not be equated with support for mass commercialization and public consumption of marijuana. Indeed, a recent poll shows that half of Americans find the smell of pot offensive.

Worse yet, early studies show that secondhand marijuana smoke is very similar to secondhand tobacco smoke, one of the galvanizing reasons for smoke-free public places and workplaces. While more research is needed, secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing substances and toxic chemicals as secondhand tobacco smokeincluding ammonia, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, benzene, hydrogen cyanide and toluene, and is associated with asthma and cardiovascular risks in nonsmokers.

These problems are only going to become more acute.

While the proportion of adults who smoke cigarettes has declined from over 40 percent in the s to 14 percent today, use of marijuana is on the rise: The NIH reported the rate was only 9. ificantly, the AIM study found a greater proportion of people — 20 percent — reported using marijuana in the past year if they lived in a state where recreational use was legalcompared to just 12 percent in states where it was completely illegal.

Right now, 33 states have legalized medical marijuanaand 10 of them have gone on to legalize recreational marijuana. At the same time, cities and counties and 11 states prohibit smoking and vaping of recreational and medical marijuana in at least one of the following: non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants, bars or gambling facilities.

Weed smell: what it’s like before and after smoking?

But these comprehensive smoke-free protections are at risk, as marijuana proponents and lobbyists pressure states and cities to make exemptions for marijuana smoking. In AlaskaCalifornia and Colorado efforts are underway to allow marijuana smoking and vaping in businesses and mixed-use buildings that are currently required to be smoke-free, which would roll back the clock to allow indoor smoking again. In addition, in these states and several others where marijuana use has been legalized, proponents have argued that there is nowhere for adults and tourists to use the product and are pushing for the sanctioning of so-called marijuana clubs and cafes.

We should expect no different from the emerging marijuana industry.

Similar advertising and marketing tactics are being mulled, and self-regulation is again being pushed. Do we really want to go back to the era of smoke-filled restaurants and bars?

Indeed, marijuana proponents learned valuable lessons from the tobacco and alcohol industries on avoiding state and local regulations and formulating effective messages for the public, legislators and voters. Framing legalization as a means to decriminalize possession and create a new source of revenue for state budgets has garnered public support and intrigued legislators.

In addition, describing legalization as a means for patients to have easier access to marijuana for medical reasons has resonated with voters and legislators. Whatever the possible social and economic benefits of legalized marijuana, many of which are disputed, just as crucial is the negative impact on public health and the toll marijuana could take on state health care expenses.

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And do we really want to go back to the era of smoke-filled restaurants and bars? In our opinion, marijuana should be regulated more like tobacco products, where excise taxes support prevention and treatment, advertising is limited, and nonsmokers are protected from secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke and aerosol.

Adults can use the product, but there should be boundaries, and smoke-free protections should include restricting marijuana smoking and vaping. So, yes, we do mind if you smoke in public places. IE 11 is not supported.

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For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. Share this —. Follow think. Opinion is a day to celebrate, whether you call it weed, marijuana or cannabis.

Cynthia Hallett.