Exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke continues to be a growing challenge for people in multi-unit housing, at job sites, and in public spaces, as more states legalize the smoking and vaping of marijuana/cannabis. ANR Foundation believes that everyone deserves to breathe air that is free from all types of secondhand smoke, including both tobacco and marijuana. Our graphic shows the trend of adult-use legalization. Since 2012 states have been passing adult-use marijuana laws with increasing speed. Now, 21 States have legalized adult-use marijuana.

There is an organized push by the marijuana/cannabis industry and proponents to weaken local and state smokefree air laws to expand where marijuana smoking and vaping is allowed. These efforts include introducing legislation and rules to roll back smokefree protections to allow marijuana smoking and vaping inside venues that are currently required to be smokefree. Spaces that are particularly at risk for allowing marijuana smoking and vaping include retailers and lounges, as well as the creation of social consumption spaces like restaurants, cafés, and bars. More communities are also facing pushback to including marijuana in smokefree multi-unit housing laws.

Exempting marijuana from smokefree laws can have real public health consequences, including increasing drifting secondhand smoke that will put the health of workers, multi-unit housing residents, and the public at risk. Workers should not have to sacrifice their health for a paycheck, and multi-unit housing residents shouldn’t have to breathe their neighbor’s smoke.

A January article in the Washington Post highlighted a regulatory gap in protecting people from secondhand marijuana smoke by detailing a Washington, DC, homeowner’s experience with ongoing drifting marijuana secondhand smoke in her home, the overall increase in secondhand marijuana smoke exposure and complaints around the U.S., and the challenges to resolving these situations to effectively protect health.

We have a variety of new and regularly updated materials to educate people about the threats posed by secondhand marijuana smoke and to help you maintain the smokefree gain so that communities don’t see the return of indoor smoking.

Three newly updated resources are:
1) our secondhand marijuana smoke fact sheet that provides the latest research findings to educate coalitions and policymakers,

2) additional state-specific marijuana fact sheets for the states that legalized adult-use marijuana in 2022, including Missouri and Maryland, and,

3) our on-site marijuana consumption policy guidance document that’s designed to help inform discussions about what policy requirements should be put in place to protect health when cities and states are deciding whether to allow marijuana smoking and vaping at retailers and other venues.