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New Yorkers can barely live in their apartments because the weed smell is so bad — ‘It wakes me up’

It can really stink to live here.

New Yorkers are being smoked out of their own apartments by the stench of marijuana. Since cannabis was legalized in the city in 2021, its pungent odor has become increasingly common on NYC streets, and now Gothamites say they can’t even escape it in their own homes.

“The smell is so strong it wakes me up or makes it hard to relax and go to bed. Sometimes I get nauseous or allergic itchy eyes and a sore throat from how concentrated it is,” said Delaney, 25, a business owner who lives in Cobble Hill. For the past six months, the the odor has been unbearable in her fourth floor walk-up.

Delaney considered not renewing her lease because of the weed smell in her apartment. Emmy Park for NY Post
Delaney considered not renewing her lease because of the weed smell in her apartment. Emmy Park for NY Post
Cannabis was legalized in NYC in 2021, and now it seems people smoke anywhere at anytime. REUTERS
Cannabis was legalized in NYC in 2021, and now it seems people smoke anywhere at anytime. REUTERS

“It’s been almost every single night, primarily in my bedroom between 10 p.m. and 2 p.m.,” she said.

She went to college in Oregon shortly after cannabis was legalized there, so she’s used to the occasional whiff. But this smell is next level, and it’s driving her crazy — literally.

“I live alone so I often second guess myself or feel like I am overreacting, but then I had family in town and they walked into my apartment and said it smelled like it had been hot-boxed,” she said.

Delaney has emailed with her building manager and landlord about the issue. While they were sympathetic to her plight, they said there wasn’t much they could do, so long as people are using cannabis in their own apartments

And, she’s not even sure where the smell is coming from.

“I’ve even run around the building in my PJs and slippers — quite the sight — at midnight to see if I could figure out what apartment it was coming from,” she said. “I narrowed it down to a few, but since they all had their doors and windows closed it was really just my best guess.”

The city has been overrun by both legal (above) and illegal cannabis shop. AP
The city has been overrun by both legal (above) and illegal cannabis shop. AP

She’s hopeful that once she can figure out who her smoky neighbor is, they can have a conversation and figure out a solution — so much so that she recently opted to renew her lease. In the meantime, using an air purifier has helped a small amount.

Claire, a 39-year-old consultant who is married with two kids, doesn’t have the option of not renewing her lease. She owns the Brooklyn apartment that she shares with her husband and two young kids, and her neighbors are regular pot smokers — at all hours.

“We’re talking 8 a.m. on a weekday morning, 5 p.m. bath time, and many evenings,” she said. “The way our ventilation is set up, their smoke goes straight into our children’s bathroom. It’s definitely a frequent conversation with our nanny, and on more than one occasion, our young kids have asked about the smell.”

Allison, a millennial entrepreneur, who lives in a luxury rental building in Dumbo, has been battling weed smells since May. “We had a new neighbor move into the unit next door. Immediately after that we started smelling strong cannabis smoke in our apartment, and in various common areas like the hallways, elevator and lobby,” she said. “Some nights the smell is so strong that it wakes me up from my sleep at 2 a.m.”

Even New Yorkers who enjoy a little bit of cannabis themselves say the situation is out of control. Polaris
Even New Yorkers who enjoy a little bit of cannabis themselves say the situation is out of control. Polaris

The situation is especially frustrating since, per her lease, the building is official smoke-free housing. According to the NYC Health Department, the “smoke-free” label doesn’t just prohibit tobacco smoke but also smoke from cannabis or other substances.

She’s complained over 30 times with little action taken.

“Management always gave us the runaround, directing us to report incidents to the concierge or referring us to a different person within their organization,” she said. “They frequently told us it was difficult to pinpoint the source of the smoke, so they couldn’t take action on it.”

Eventually the building emailed her neighbor, which has helped slightly.

With little power to get neighbors to stop smoking, New Yorkers are turning to air purifiers and other creative solutions to battle the stench. Emmy Park for NY Post
With little power to get neighbors to stop smoking, New Yorkers are turning to air purifiers and other creative solutions to battle the stench. Emmy Park for NY Post

“The daily smoke wafting into our bedroom has stopped, although we still frequently smell cannabis smoke in the common areas and see our neighbors smoking joints in front of the building on the sidewalk,” she said.

Claire, meanwhile, is nervous to talk to her neighbors since she lives in a small building and doesn’t want to disrupt relationships. She just wishes they’d be more considerate — though she doesn’t want to come across as a hypocrite.

“Listen, we ourselves are cannabis users,” she said. “We don’t want to take that away from people.”