Dear Stoner: The recent issue about whether people can smoke in public view, like on personal patios or balconies, has me a little confused and irritated. Non-smokers say smoking pot in public view is dangerous to families and might influence children the "wrong way," but I feel that cigarettes are so much worse. I absolutely hate cigarette smoke, and it's harmful even as secondhand smoke. Why is it such an issue about pot but not about cigarettes?
Dear Mack: It's an issue because politicians want to make it an issue. While most cities in Colorado aren't even touching this subject — they realize it's a neighbor issue and not a police matter — Denver City Council decided outdoor pot smoking in the privacy of your own property was worth spending several weeks discussing. But it wasn't about actual complaints; if it were, I'm sure that cigarette smoke would have been part of the discussion, along with all sorts of other things that people perceive as a nuisance, like stinky rose gardens and piles of stinky dog poop that your neighbor only cleans up once a month.
Instead, Denver City Council made up a problem of people smoking cannabis in view of others on their property so that they could then make up a solution and pat themselves on the backs for a job well done. Thankfully, they made the right decision, but the reality is that neighbors should talk to neighbors if there's a problem instead of calling the police to solve it — whether it's the wafting skunky smoke of cannabis or the rank stank of a cigarette.
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Ask a Stoner
Dear Stoner: In regard to your December 5 column, about carrying pot on airplanes, according to federal aviation regulations, if a pilot knows illegal drugs are on the aircraft and operates said aircraft, he is in violation of the federal aviation law. In typical FAA fashion, the regulation is worded so that the interpretation of it is not clear and may be tweaked depending on the circumstances. This is not a criticism of your response, only an effort to point out that, like many things in the pot issue, there are unknown variables. I am confident that the moneychangers will soon realize that good old American capitalism will become the ruling principle in this issue and will gleefully accept and spend any funds they can accumulate as a result of legalization and taxation. But after a lifetime of interacting with the FAA, I am still searching for any signs of common sense.
Dear RK: Thanks for the insight. Don't strain yourself, though: There's no common sense to be found anywhere at the federal level when it comes to marijuana policy.