Pungent pot can be a source of tension between neighbors. (Craig F. Walker, Denver Post file)

Neighbors and pot conflicts — ways to clear the air

Kat Haig had finally had enough.

Enough of the downstairs neighbor in her four-plex building in Colorado Springs smoking marijuana “like a chimney.”

Enough of the all-too-distinct-smelling smoke filtering up, somehow, into the apartment she shared with her son and daughter, ages 6 and 3.

“It was to the point where my kids were asking, ‘What is that awful smell?’ ” said Haig, 27. “It was pretty bad. It was strong.”

“One day I just went, ‘This is enough. This can’t be good for (my daughter),’ ” Haig said. “So I just went down there.”

She didn’t know her neighbor all too well, but Haig laid out the situation as politely as she could: Her daughter had breathing problems and, well, every time he lit up, their apartment upstairs did, too, with the smell.

“He was so embarrassed. He had no idea I could smell it up here,” she said. “I didn’t smell it again.”

Cannabist Q&A: Fielding queries from readers about all marijuana matters

Haig’s story ended well — that same neighbor later moved out — but anyone who has ever had neighbors knows that’s not always the case.

Neighbors can feud about nearly everything — barking dogs, unkempt front yards, loud parties, cigarette smoke.

And now, with marijuana legal for adult recreational use and more available than ever, weed joins the list, whether it’s smoke wafting in your windows or a pungent grow operation next door.

The funk next door

You may find it offensive, but that marijuana smell from a neighbor lighting up a joint in his or her backyard is likely not doing anything wrong, legally speaking, as long as they are at least 21 and on their own property.

“It’s like smoking a cigarette — if you’re on your back patio smoking a cigarette, you’re not doing anything illegal,” said Steve Davis, spokesman for the Lakewood Police Department.

“Someone is doing something that’s legal on their own property,” he said. “We don’t always have the authority to do anything about it.”

Like many cities throughout Colorado, Lakewood has a moratorium on recreational marijuana sales and no specific rules guiding where pot can be consumed on residential property.

In Denver, it’s legal for adults to use marijuana on their own property or with the owner’s permission.

The Denver City Council, at one point, was considering a policy that would have banned smoking marijuana on private property if it was in public view — and even further, if it could be smelled by neighbors.

Neither effort took flight, though, so as long as you own the property — or have the owner’s OK — the front yard, front porch, back patio and backyard are all fair game.

If you rent, on the other hand, landlords are legally allowed to prohibit marijuana use of any kind on their premises.

More on handling cannabis conflicts with neighbors

This story was first published on DenverPost.com