We’ve dealt with a lot in 2020. Between the election, the pandemic, the fires, and everything else this year has heaped on us, most people don’t have the capacity to worry about much else. But an Arizona woman dubbed a “Karen” has made it a goal to stop her neighbors from smoking medical marijuana—in their own home.
The “Karen,” whose real name is Renee Moore, claims that the smoke coming from her neighbors’ apartment is triggering her health issues. Her neighbors, who hold medical marijuana cards, are within their legal rights to smoke in their own residence—which is exactly what the property management company and city code enforcement staff told Moore when she complained about the smoke.
That didn’t stop Moore, however, who turned her attention to state-wide efforts to legalize recreational marijuana use. She claims that she’s experienced a range of health issues, which include her “eyes swelling, burning, my nose burning, throat burning, breathing problems, migraines, just to name a few.” She believes these health problems will become more widespread if marijuana is legalized for recreational use.
In an interview with KNXV-TV published on Wednesday, Moore said that “multiple residents” had contacted police over the smell, which is “draining city resources.” She does not appear to see the irony of her own contribution to the drain of city resources so that she can complain about a bad smell.
A few weeks after her initial complaints, Moore received an email from a Scottsdale code enforcement officer. “While we understand that this odor is offensive to you, this odor is a result of a condition permitted under state law that allows medical marijuana usage within one’s own property whether you own, rent or lease,” the email read. “Therefore, the City has no authority to hold the card holder accountable in this matter.”
Moore was shocked that the city didn’t immediately jump to appease her. In response, she has moved out of her old apartment and set her sights on stopping Proposition 207, which would “legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults (age 21 years or older) in Arizona,” according to BallotPedia.
“If marijuana becomes legal to be recreational, everybody else who doesn’t do that and is afraid of their health and their kids, and pets, they’re going to be affected by it big time,” Moore said.
Moore’s argument appears to ignore the issue of cigarettes, which are still widely used. While cigarettes were banned in enclosed public spaces several years ago, they continue to be allowed in many outdoor public areas. Secondhand cigarette smoke is proven to cause a myriad of health issues, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory issues, and ear infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “approximately 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke” since 1964.
Little is known about the health effects of secondhand marijuana smoke, due to a lack of research. According to MedicalNewsToday, however, typically a person will only experience the side effects of secondhand marijuana smoke if they are in close proximity to someone while they smoke. There is some concerning data regarding exposure in young children, but little is understood about how the health issues correlate to marijuana exposure.
Supporters of Proposition 207 note that, based on the experiences of states with legalized recreational marijuana, Moore’s concerns are unfounded. “This is about personal use on a responsible basis, and really the intention of this is for people to be able to use it in the privacy of their own homes,” Chad Campbell, senior vice president of communications firm Strategies 360, told KNXV-TV.
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