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I live in Oregon, USA, and the state has recently legalized marijuana. I have a tenant who smokes daily. I've visited a few times and the home always smells of pot.

I know how tobacco smoke can permeate a house. To be rid of tobacco smell you must pull out carpets, seal and repaint the walls, and so on.

Is this also true of marijuana?

I am on good terms with the tenant. If simple cleaning will be sufficient then I am happy to wrap the cost into their cleaning deposit. But, if it's going to be a serious problem later, then I'll want to invoke the non-smoking clause of our contract right away.

Does anyone have any information on this?

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7 Answers 7

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I think you need to deal with weed the same as you would tobacco. The smell is just as bad as tobacco. It FOR SURE permeates drywall. I have had to rip out drywall from a few pot houses. I think some things you need to think about are:

  • that most tobacco smokers try to air out their house. They may smoke more in volume but generally they smoke out windows or open windows/doors after smoking.

  • weed smokers may let the smoke sit in the room or create a hot room. It wouldn't take a great deal of time before a house was smell infested.

  • also weed smokers may grow their own. The marijuana plant stinks and can stink up a house in a few batches of 5 plants.

Really there is a great range of possibilities with both set of smokers. I have rentals and I personally would be more worried about weed. I think it is because the amount of smell damage you can do to a house with weed in short amount of time. I have had rentals before that I had smoke cost fears and talked to the renters way before it became permanent. I would feel I would need to check in to a house smoking weed every few weeks. It is just more of a communal drug and people often prefer holding the smoke inside.

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    I would use your no smoking clause, paint with a sealer may allow you to cover the stains, but getting tobacco or pot smell out is tough.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 11, 2016 at 14:40
  • @EdBeal - If you smell a strong smoke smell in walls I would caution against painting with anything. I have gone down that road before. On one of the first houses I flipped I painted/sealed all drywall in a basement due to a heavy smoker. Smelled great. New owner called me and gave me an earful two months later. Luckily they had not moved much in basement. We ripped out all drywall and rehung at just cost of drywall for new owner - first and only time I have gone back to a sold house.
    – DMoore
    Jan 11, 2016 at 15:21
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Windex with Ammonia-D (or generic) specifically or even just Ammonia will eradicate virtually all smoking smell, residue & evidence. Either works wonders on all surfaces. If you have a fabric lampshade laden in tobacco staining, soak it down with Windex & right before your eyes the tobacco stuff will run & stream right off & you'll have a tough time seeing any difference from a new or non-stained lampshade.

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My experience is that the smell of marijuana does not linger for long. That being said, many pot smokers mix in some tobacco, in which case, it will smell just as tobacco does.

This only applies to smoking of the traditional way - lighting it on fire. Some more modern techniques like vaporizing produce next to no smell at all, you wouldn't even notice if someone was smoking it next to you in public.

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I’ve been smoking pot inside every house I’ve rented for the past 17 years. I need it for my epilepsy and am a biochemist who studies the plant. I have never had a landlord say anything about it as it doesn’t stick to walls like nicotine does. Nicotine has a different chemical structure and sticks to everything. Also, MOST POT SMOKERS DO NOT MIX IN TOBACCO IN THE US. In Europe they do not but in the US.

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  • Add that the amount of material smoked is generally far less for marijuana than for tobacco. I laughed at the comment further up that said "smoke is smoke." That's not remotely true. I smoke cigars and cigar smoke is incredibly sticky and persistent. Far worse than cigarettes (not sure how much actual tobacco current cigarettes contain), and cigarettes are much more persistent than marijuana.
    – Tim Nevins
    Oct 2, 2019 at 17:05
  • I'll add an anecdote to support this answer... Bought a couch from some guys moving out of state. They were very eager to tell us that their dog had never been on the couch or excreted any fluids on the couch. We got it back to our house and realized that it smelled strongly of weed. The smell lasted about 2 weeks before wearing off completely. Had the couch over 2 years now and doesn't smell at all. If it doesn't stick to soft material like a couch, why would it stick to drywall?
    – Steve-o169
    Oct 2, 2019 at 17:27
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It will stain walls just like tobacco - smoke is smoke in that regard. I've never experienced an odor renovating spaces, including homes of people I know smoke it habitually. I know the smell can be very powerful when it's been used recently, especially if you aren't a habitual user yourself, but it always seems to fade pretty quickly.

If this is a multifamily home or complex: I lived in a complex for a couple years and the smell tended to waft its way through common spaces and even into other apartments. It would fade quickly, but is unpleasant to people who dislike the smell. That's reason enough to enforce your smoking policy.

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I'm replying late in the game. I live in an apartment building and I've had it (sorry smokers). Cigarettes and marijauna/weed from different tenants that gets into my tiny studio apartment so I have no escape and can't afford to move. Both lingers. At first I thought cigarettes were worse, but weed can be bad too. The smoke lingers for hours and hours! I get fuel/gas type and skunk weed, in additional to tobacco cigarettes. Oh the fun (not) is the weed smokers love spraying STRONG toxic air freshener as if someone dropped the bottle inside my room. So I'd say it all gets stuck into the air/walls (second hand smoke and third hand smoke) in addition to subjecting, hurting other people's health.

Nothing against smoking, as my dad was a smoker primarily outside of the house and a dear friend whom used medical weed for her cancer, she used weed in liquid form so she wasn't bothering anyone and sadly she is gone now.

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Im gonna go with the biochemist and take their study into account. Ive been smoking weed and cigarettes frequently for 5 years and the only time the marijuana has lingered is when ive rolled it in a blunt or mixed it with concentrate to increase potency. Ive noticed it also eliminates the smell of cigarettes in places I have smoked my cigarettes. In America we are big on blunts and that is tobacco. Yes hemp warps exist now but that doesnt stir the urge away from a nice backwood. I would just make sure they keep up with cleaning. Treat it like if they had a pet.

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