Cannabis Smell Causing Problems, Even Though Pot Is Legal in Some States

Cannabis smellCustomers who reek of cannabis smell are being refused service at a barbershop in Greeley, Colorado. A sign on the door reads “please do not come in if you smell like marijuana, there are families with kids who don’t want to smell it. This is a business not your house, thank you.”

Owner Hugo Corral says about half his customers reek of pot. He says it is disrespectful, especially with children and families patronizing the shop. Pot may be legal, but he does not want the cannabis smell in his store. The odor has been so strong at times that customers have asked if someone is actually smoking in the store.

Corral has been accused of discrimination, but since his refusal of service is not based on reasons like race, religion, gender, or other constitutionally protected categories it is not illegal.

Colorado is one of 20 states, plus Washington DC, who have legalized pot, passing Amendment 64 last November making the limited sale, possession and growing of cannabis for recreational purposes legal for adults 21 and over. Colorado’s Amendment 64 includes language that says it shall be unlawful for any person to openly and publicly display marijuana. In the Amendment’s definitions of openly and publicly it specifies both sight and smell. It does not specify whether the cannabis smell needs to originate during the actual act of smoking.

Pot businesses have been in the news recently because of  their problems with getting banks to accept their money. An interesting quality of cash is that it absorbs smells, so it is hard to hide the source of a bag of cash that came from a cannabis dispensary. Pot shops tend to be cash-only businesses, so all they have to work with financially is currency. But it is difficult to get a bank to accept their cash when the smell makes it so obvious where the cash came from.

Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drugs, a category is defined as most dangerous, and includes such drugs as heroin and LSD. Since Schedule I drugs are still illegal under federal law, banks do not want to provide services to marijuana dispensaries, fearing charges of money-laundering, and federal penalties and sanctions.

The pot merchant may store their money in a Tupperware container filled with air fresheners to mask the cannabis smell, hoping to be able to make a deposit. The shop may end up taking bags of money to grocery stores for money orders which they take to the bank to try to open an account without the problem of the smell.

In February the federal government issued rules allowing banks to legally provide financial services to state-licensed pot businesses, but banks are still nervous about accepting smelly cash.

Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, says that banks appreciate efforts by the Department of Justice to help resolve the dilemma, but the regulations do not alter the fact that possession or distribution of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and that banks that provide support for illegal activities face risk of prosecution and sanctions.

In the meantime, Hugo Corral’s Greeley barbershop may be one of the first private businesses to openly announce a “no cannabis smell” policy, but others may follow as more states legalize pot, and regulations remain gray. The banking problem will have to play out in a higher court.

By Beth A. Balen

The Huffington Post
The New York Times

3 Responses to "Cannabis Smell Causing Problems, Even Though Pot Is Legal in Some States"

  1. BigJohn   March 10, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Brian, you’re right on most of what you say most of the time. Marijuana should be legal, but if a business owner doesn’t want people reeking of pot coming into his store, that’s his prerogative. You can’t be for freedom with marijuana but not allow him that freedom. A lot of people don’t like the way pot smells. I own a business and I don’t want drunk people or stoned people coming in here to tell you the truth, or stinky people. It’s offensive to others here. I’ve had people in here that stink so bad no amount of air freshener covers the smell that lingers when they leave, and that’s just nasty. And weed, it can really stink actually. That skunk bud that may smell really good to somebody who loves weed doesn’t smell any better than a real skunk to most of us. I would appreciate it if people wouldn’t come into my office reeking like it.

    Would I put up a sign like this guy or kick people out of my office because I smell weed? No, but I might say something to them if they really reek of weed or alcohol. And if someone is intoxicated I’m not going to do business with them, sign any important documents or anything like that. I think the barber here is probably doing this to voice his displeasure with the fact that marijuana is legal rather than out of concern about the rare occasions people come in reeking so badly of pot that other customers can smell it. He will probably lose business. Right now he’s getting some free exposure and he’ll probably attract some like minded people. They can listen to Rush Limbaugh and eat “freedom fries” together.

  2. Michael J Freeman   March 10, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Okay if you reek of alcohol and tobacco!

  3. Brian Kelly B Bizzle   March 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    In the prohibitionist’s world, anybody who consumes the slightest amount of marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes are “stoners” and “dopers” that need to be incarcerated to protect society.

    In their world, any marijuana use equates to marijuana abuse, and it is their God given duty to worry about “saving us all” from the evils of marijuana use.

    Who are they to tell us we can’t choose marijuana, the safer choice instead alcohol for relaxation, after a long, hard day, in the privacy of our own homes?

    People who use marijuana are smart, honest, hard working, educated, and successful people too, who “follow the law” also.(except for their marijuana consumption under it’s current prohibition of course) .

    Not the stereotypical live at home losers prohibitionists make us out to be. We are doctors, lawyers, professors, movie stars, and politicians too.

    Several Presidents of The United States themselves and Justin Trudeau, and Bill Gates, and Carl Sagan have all confessed to their marijuana use , as have a long and extensive list of successful people throughout history at one point or other in their lives.

    Although, that doesn’t mean a damned thing to people who will make comments like “dopers” and “stoners” about anybody who uses the slightest amount of Marijuana although it is way safer than alcohol.

    To these people any use equals abuse, and that is really ignorant and full of hypocrisy. While our society promotes, glorifies, and advertises alcohol consumption like it’s an All American pastime.

    There is nothing worse about relaxing with a little marijuana after a long, hard day, than having a drink or two of alcohol.

    So come off those high horses of yours. Who are you to dictate to the rest of society that we can’t enjoy Marijuana, the safer choice over alcohol, in the privacy of our own homes?

    We’ve worked real hard our whole lives to provide for our loved ones. We don’t appreciate prohibitionists trying to impose their will and morals upon us all.

    Has a marijuana user ever tried to force you to use it? Probably not. So nobody has the right to force us not to either.

    Don’t try to impose your morality and “clean living” upon all of us with Draconian Marijuana Laws, and we won’t think you’re such prohibitionist hypocrites.

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.