An interesting predicament

My neighbor smokes pot. I wouldn’t give it a second thought, but unfortunately, living in an apartment means I share a wall with them. And vents, apparently.
When they light up, I start smelling it. It’s strongest in the bathroom, which leads me to believe it comes from the neighbors to the right. It’s not overpowering, but you can definitely tell what it is. If I am home, I turn the fan on and close the bathroom door. But I’m not always home, and if the fan isn’t turned on, the smell travels into the main living area and my bedroom.
I work in a job where random drug tests are a possibility, and I have pets. I don’t really care if they want to smoke, but I care when I am affected by it. I don’t smoke pot, and I don’t want to live in an apartment that smells like I do. I’m getting sick of having to turn my fan on at odd hours, and worrying when I have company over.

Now, my problem is how to deal with it. I’m pretty sure it’s my right neighbors, but I have no proof. Do I knock on their door and explain the situation, politely ask them to stop? Not so politely? Do I go to the apartment manager, who lives in the complex herself? Do I pull the maintenance guy aside and explain it to him, see if he knows of a solution? Or do I call the police and involve them? I’d rather talk to the neighbors first, see if they’re amenable to fixing it, before involving the police. I have to live next to them for another 6 months; I’d rather not have to deal with hostility during that time. I really like the apartment, so I’m not considering moving.
What would you do? Anything I may not have thought of?

I would leave a polite anonymous note on their door explaining the situation, and ask if they could please take steps to avoid the smoke coming into your place, and maybe very subtley hint that you don’t want to have to contact anyone else about it.

I’m thinking you want to soft sell this one first. Maybe strike up a casual conversation with the guy, and mention that you just happened to smell the strangest smell the other night. You’re not sure, but it might be marijuana. Has he smelled anything strange lately? Does he think you oughta call the cops?

The point being to give him a subtle hint to be more discreet, without directly accusing him of anything. You can always escalate the situation as you see fit later, if necessary.

Can you put some kind of nice-smelling filter into the vent? Even if you resolve this issue with a note or whatnot, I’d be unhappy about sharing my neighbors’ stinks.

I wouldn’t worry too much about your pets or the random drug tests. Usually, the thresholds are set high enough that even being in the same room as someone smoking pot once or twice won’t cause you to fail. Nor should your pets be harmed by it unless they have an unusual allergy. I have known of people who intentionally breathed marijuana smoke into their pets’ faces to get the animals high with no deletrious effects. (Except that it’s kind of a mean thing to do since they can’t understand why they feel funny.)

If it were me, I’d just tell them, “I don’t smoke any more, and I don’t want to smell yours. Crack a frakin window, wouldja?” Unless they’re some sort of marijuana imperialists, they should be okay with it.

Maybe someone thinks they are sneaking a joint in the bathroom? Yeah, a lot of them are that stupid…

I wouldn’t say anything. If it’s the chance of failing a drug test you’re worried about, it ain’t gonna happen. If it’s the smell you dislike, that’s the price you pay for living in an apartment. You’re lucky it’s not fish or something equally disturbing. If it’s the fact that they’re doing something illegal, you can narc 'em out, but it sounds like that’s not your motivation.

Them’s the breaks.

I do think they are confining the smoking to bathroom because that’s the only room with a vent that isn’t connected to the ac system. And the smell goes away if I turn the bathroom fan on.

As for the drug tests, I’m not worried, I just don’t like the possibility. I AM worried about my pets because they are birds, some are very small ones, and very sensitive to poisons. I know there are plenty of people who have birds and smoke, but I’d like to give mine the healthiest life possible.

The next time I smell it, I’ll just go and knock on their door. Be direct but nice about it. If things have to escalate, so be it.

If you can’t smoke pot in your own house, where *can * you smoke it?

Smoke of any kind is deleterious to the health of birds, although it sounds like it’s mostly just smell, which isn’t as bad. I’m not quite sure what to tell you, except that things like Glade plug-ins, scented candles, and any air freshener with “essential oils” are probably WORSE for your birds, if you feel the need to use something to cover the stink.

There are persistant rumors that Febreze smell-remover is dangerous to birds, but I keep seeing claims that those rumors are debunked, so I don’t know what to tell you. I do know that cooking with nonstick-coated cookware is very definitely dangerous.

Personally, I’d be tempted to try the “funny smell, what should I do?” ‘innocent’ question routine described above.


If it’s just your drug testing and the health of the animals you’re concerned about, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Other than that, putting up with strange smells is part of living in an apartment.

Would you tell a Chinese person or Indian person that their cooking smells are driving you crazy? Would you tell a smoker of regular cigarettes that you don’t like the smell?

Now, of course, I realize the difference is that those things are LEGAL, but it doesn’t sound like the illegality of it is what you’re upset by. It sounds like the illegality of it is just the “power” you would wield in your interaction.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not on a power trip here. As I said before, I don’t care what they do in their own apartment as long as it doesn’t involve me. If the smell was fish, or cooking or something they couldn’t help, it’d be tough toenails for me. But this smell is something that they can avoid. Since I don’t smoke regular cigarettes either, if that was coming through the vents, I’d still have an issue. I don’t object to the smells coming from the vent, I object to the carcinogenic aspect of it.

It’s not a question of ‘if they can’t smoke at home, where can they?’ That’s not my problem.
If I do approach them, and the smells still occur, I have an option of involving the police. It’s not my first choice, but if they leave me with no other one…

Heh. I also suggest the ‘funny smell’ route. Undoubtedly it will make them so paranoid they will be rigging a whole new ventilation. Try substituting ‘incense’ with a wink wink, nudge nudge, maybe? And hopefully they are not as oblivious as Mr. McQ and I were as newlyweds, when our neighbors kept complaining about the noise from our ‘stereo’. Know what I mean?

They can avoid cooking fish. Or curry. They can avoid nearly any odor coming out of their apartment. I see this really is about the legal aspects of it. This is the only odor YOU can do anything about.

I think if any apartment neighbor had ever told me they smelled pot coming out of my house, I would have wrapped every vent in dryer sheets to avoid offending them and having them possibly call the police. One thing you have to hand to pot smokers–we’re inventive.

When we get off the couch, that is. :slight_smile:

Luna, I would definitely suggest talking directly to them first. In addition to letting them know that they’re not as stealthy as they think, that will also make you “cool” in their eyes–you don’t care if they smoke, as long as they keep you out of it. In fact, if they’re average, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety weekend (and some weekdays) recreational users, they’ll probably go out of their way to accomodate you on this–hell, they might even help you take your garbage out on occasion. You have the opportunity to narc on them, but you’d rather settle it without doing so. Good luck!

Yeah, that’s the response I’d expect. A pot smoker is probably not gonna go roidrage on ya unless ya start intercepting the pizza guy or something… : :wink:

They probably don’t realize the smell is peeking over - trust me, as a former potsmoker, I would have been horrified, not because of the illegal aspects, but because of the rude-ness factor. I’m a cigarette smoker and the same way still. I don’t like my habits creeping over into other people’s personal space.

Incidentally, I’m a former potsmoker for conveniences sake, not health, or legality. Sometimes that stuff is just hard to get ahold of.


I’d just knock on the door and mention that you can smell smoke coming from their place. You don’t have to mention what kind of smoke you smell - so you can pretend a bit of innocence - but tell them that when they smoke in the bathroom it leaks into your apartment. I’ve never known a pot moker who didn’t go out of their way to avoid that kind of thing; it sounds like all they likely have to do is stop smoking in their bathroom.

It’s possible that the reason they smoke in the bathroom is so they can turn their fan on and avoid having the smell permeate their entire apartment.

I agree with the suggestion to politely knock on the door and let them know that you can smell smoke. Surely they will be neighbourly and form a plan B involving an open window or something.

You can also suggest that they fill a toilet-paper roll with dryer sheets and blow the smoke through that. It worked in the dorms. :smiley: