apparently I'm the only person DARE worked on.
September 26, 2008 7:00 PM   Subscribe

A good friend of mine, a habitual pot smoker, is staying with me for a couple of months. Do I have a right to ask him not to use drugs in my house?

Owing to a combination of circumstances, a good friend of mine will be crashing at my place for a couple of months. we have been housemates (with separate apartments) in the past so we know each other's living habits pretty well. he has smoked pot regularly the entire time I've known him. I don't do drugs and never have, but I don't have a problem when other people use drugs and believe marijuana use should be legalized in the US. however, I do have a completely irrational problem with the idea of someone using illegal drugs in the place where I live. I know that legally I'm probably not in any danger if someone else does drugs in my apartment, but as a renter I would prefer not to be put in a situation where I might have to be responsible for someone else's behavior. How much of an asshole would I be if I asked my friend to curtain his drug use while he's staying with me? he came over tonight and mentioned that he had just visited a dealer, so he clearly has every intention of bringing drugs when he arrives. my boyfriend thinks I should just deal with my discomfort and not say anything, but I think it's likely that he's biased, since he never gets to smoke pot except with this friend.

if I do say something, how can I broach the subject without seeming like a total dick about it? if you think it's relevant, the friend in question is paying the equivalent of a bit less than 15% of my total monthly living expenses to stay here.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (46 answers total)
 
It's your house, you absolutely have a right set the rules.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:04 PM on September 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


As a smoker myself I agree....it is your house.
posted by patnok at 7:07 PM on September 26, 2008


You have the right. Just because he's paying you less than 15% (spends more on drugs?) for the privilege of staying with you doesn't change the fact that it's your place. He can smoke his pot at his other friend's house.
posted by Atreides at 7:07 PM on September 26, 2008


You can set whatever rules you like and you shouldn't feel bad about it. If he has a problem with that, he can find another place to live.
posted by DMan at 7:08 PM on September 26, 2008 [3 favorites]


Does your boyfriend live with you too? Is he on the lease?

Either way, friendly compromise is probably your best bet here. Maybe ask your friend to only smoke outside in a safe place, to use a smoke tube to deodorize the smoke (he'll know what you mean), or to smoke in the basement/garage (if you have one).

But it's your place, and your rules.
posted by jtron at 7:09 PM on September 26, 2008


When you talk to him, be very clear and specific. Can he smoke on the porch or in the parking lot or whatnot? Can he keep his weed in your house? Etc.
posted by box at 7:09 PM on September 26, 2008


Yes, absolutely, just as you would have the right to set a house rule that he not smoke cigarettes or not wear shoes in the house or not have pets or whatever.

Your house, your house rules. "No pot in the house" is not a draconian rule.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:09 PM on September 26, 2008


Yes. The world is a big place and there is an abundance of places your friend can go to smoke weed without bothering you.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:16 PM on September 26, 2008


I agree with your house your rules, however I'd like to relate a few other things as well because how you tell your friend and/or deal with this may be part of how you work this out. You probably shoudl have had this conversation with your friend earlier since he may think that since you know he smokes, him smoking while he is living with you is okay with you.

- first of all do you smoke in your house, like cigarettes? If not, it's a lot easier to ask your friend not to smoke at all in the house, pot or cigarettes. Pot is sort of unusual in that people don't/can't usually just go on the porch and smoke it, but if you have a non-smoking house, it's okay to keep it that way
- how do you feel about him having pot IN the house? or drug paraphenalia? Just fyi, if he smokes all the time, this sort of thing will be coming with him as well and if your fears are, in fact, irrational, you should probably think this all through before you talk to him and decide what about all the other stuff. Okay to leave bong on the living room table? Rolling papers? Okay to have dealer over? What about in his room?
- and an anecdote, I've been in a landlord position with people who I knew were pot smokers and I mostly just asked them to please not GROW the stuff at my house because I was a little worried about legal trouble and losing my house to bullshit foreclosure/seizure crap. Well my worst fears came true and they were growing pot in my barn which I called them and told them to stop and they did. They were also growing it in the backyard which was discovered by the local police when one of the occupants called the cops on the other in a domestic dispute. My neighbor related this to my horrified ears as I was across the country and just thinking "oh shit they're going to take my house!!!" but all that happened was the cops ripped up the plants, hollered at everyone and I never even heard about it.

Point being, you may want to just have a "one strike" policy where if something happens that seems sketch *then* you deal with it [after telling your friend and your boyfriend this of course] because the worst case probably isn't too bad. That said, it's your place and if you're uncomfortable you're not being a dick if you lay out some ground rules before your friend moves in. Good luck.
posted by jessamyn at 7:17 PM on September 26, 2008


I probably wouldn't do it, but I believe you have every right to. How about something like, "Dude, I know you like to get stoned, and I'm totally down with it. But while you're staying here, would you mind finding somewhere else to actually smoke out? You're welcome to come right back here afterward. We're just worried about the landlord and the lease, y'know?"

After all, if you did lose the place over something like that, he'd have nowhere to crash, right?
posted by trip and a half at 7:24 PM on September 26, 2008


Yes. Try not to be dickish or moralising about it. If he chooses to be a dick about it then, well, that's his lookout.
posted by Artw at 7:33 PM on September 26, 2008


People tend to be inoculated when it comes to pot. It's still illegal. At best, a fine would be levied if you are caught carrying less than one ounce. Thats the law in Oregon anyhow. About a 400 dollar fine. Ouch, that'll teach ya to be more careful.

If you dont like it, then forbid it. Your friend might whine, but it's not like he'll be out of safe places to smoke it. It will just be harder for him to wake and bake.
posted by captainsohler at 7:34 PM on September 26, 2008


Maybe I'm a bitch about this one....but here it is. My house; my rules.

I know that pot is no big deal to some people, but it's a big deal to me. It's illegal, and I am one of the many folks subjected to random drug tests. I don't know how much exposure would lead to a positive drug test, and I could do without the stress of needing to know.

Oh...and my next door neighbor is a sheriff. I find that dissuades people as well.
posted by answergrape at 7:52 PM on September 26, 2008


Your house, your rules. You should tell him this BEFORE he comes to stay. I had this issue with an actual roommate, and it got to the point where I had to come home from work to hide their paraphernalia many times during the time realtors were showing the place. And going around smelling like weed when you don't even smoke sucks.
posted by fructose at 7:57 PM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yes. I think it's ridiculous and absurd that smoking pot is illegal, but it IS illegal. It's entirely appropriate and within bounds to ask that your friends not engage in illegal activities in your house, especially when those activities could, in certain jurisdictions, land you in some legal trouble.

Look, I also tend to think that many forms of sex work should be legal, but it would make me tense to host a brothel in my apartment. You have the right to feel comfortable with what's going on in your home.
posted by lalex at 8:14 PM on September 26, 2008


I think it's completely appropriate for you to say, "Please do not break the law inside my house, because I don't want to be exposed to law enforcement action as a result."
posted by Class Goat at 8:17 PM on September 26, 2008


I do have a completely irrational problem with the idea of someone using illegal drugs in the place where I live.

This is not an irrational fear. Rather than you wondering whether you are being an asshole for telling someone not to do something illegal in your home, he should be wondering how much of an asshole he is willing to be by doing something illegal in your home, and thus making you responsible for his illegal behavior.
posted by googly at 8:24 PM on September 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's illegal, and I am one of the many folks subjected to random drug tests. I don't know how much exposure would lead to a positive drug test, and I could do without the stress of needing to know.

I can assure you that unless someone holds you down and forces you to inhale second-hand smoke for hours upon hours, there is NO CHANCE, ZERO, NONE that inhaling tiny amounts of second-hand pot smoke will cause you to fail a random drug screen. You should be more concerned about having to have your bodily fluids monitored by your employer than about failing a piss test for second-hand pot smoke. Drug screens test for marijuana metabolites -- if you aren't inhaling enough to GET STONED, then your body isn't metabolizing enough for it to be detectable.

OK, now I'll actually answer the question -- OP, you set the rules in your house, and you have every right to ask people not to smoke (or drink, or walk around nekkid, or leave hair in the drain, or whatever).

A real friend will respect your rules.

And a real pothead will probably slip out to "take a walk" every night after dinner and return a few minutes later red-eyed, mellow, and ready to play Rock Band.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:29 PM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


You definitely do have a right to tell him to cut it out while he's under your roof. The fact that he is paying 15% of your rent/mortgage complicates it a little. But it sounds like you're doing him a favour by putting him up at a really low rate while he's in some kind of situation. Hopefully he's grateful and will respect your rules (if you know his living style then he knows yours right?) without even asking you.
posted by schwa at 8:40 PM on September 26, 2008


"I can assure you that unless someone holds you down and forces you to inhale second-hand smoke for hours upon hours, there is NO CHANCE, ZERO, NONE that inhaling tiny amounts of second-hand pot smoke will cause you to fail a random drug screen."

Very true but there is a very high chance that you will smell like it. And if it is smoked in the house there's also a very high chance that your nice work clothes will smell like it too. So when you go into work, you get to smell like it whether you smoke it or not. If you smell like it day after day, to your employer, you might as well smoke it.

Pot smokers fall for the same fallacy as cigarette smokers, they can't smell it so it doesn't exist.
posted by 517 at 8:46 PM on September 26, 2008


You really should have brought this up with him before you agreed to let him live there. Since you know him so well, he probably thought that his pot use in your house was understood, and in a way he was right.

Begin the conversation by admitting that to him, and it will go a lot better.
posted by bingo at 8:51 PM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Absolutely. Guests conform to house rules--anything else is rude. Think of it the other way around. If you regularly had pot parties, would he have the privilege of asking you to stop, or would you expect him to go to his room and leave you alone?

Also, while the risk is very very small, drug use on the premises can invalidate a lease, or insurance and/or accelerate a mortgage--a risk you should not have to bear for someone else.

As latex said, you have the right to feel comfortable with what happens in your home.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:58 PM on September 26, 2008


There's no real need to moralize at him about it, just tell him you don't want people smoking, no matter what it is, in your home.

A lot of folks who smoke pot are remarkably laid-back about such matters, actually. There's a notable lack of Pothead Wrath out there.

My old housemates were always very considerate about not blazing one in the common area if I was home (medical issues), and they'd occasionally come out of their rooms just to make sure their smoke wasn't bothering me. Maybe I've just had a run of really mature potheads for roomies.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:21 PM on September 26, 2008


You have the right to demand that he doesn't bring drugs into your house. He can store and use them anywhere else.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:22 PM on September 26, 2008


Your place. Your call. But I'm curious as to your motivation, which you say is based on a "completely irrational problem with the idea of someone using illegal drugs in the place where I live."

You don't mention not liking the smell or having asthma. You go out of your way to say you "believe marijuana use should be legalized in the US." Why not take a bit of stand for something you believe in, show a little political courage?
posted by philip-random at 9:22 PM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


As most everyone else has said: it's your house, so all people who come to stay at your house should be living by your rules. You're doing a very generous favor for your friend, and, abstaining from doing something that you don't typically allow in your house is the least he could do to show his gratitude. I do agree that you might want to flesh out any rules before he moves in and communicate those rules. It's not as if it's that difficult to find a place to smoke pot or anything.

He is entitled to use drugs in your house.
Really?? Entitled? If a murderer were to stay with a friend, would he/she be entitled to commit their crimes in their friend's house? Okay, I know that that isn't comparable (I'm not saying it is), but I just don't understand where a sense of entitlement enters this.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:36 PM on September 26, 2008


I believe cigarettes should be legal (as in fact they are). People still are not allowed to smoke them in my house.

I'd probably not care about a roommate keeping drugs on him, or having a bong in his room, or even very occasionally smoking on the balcony if the windows are shut.

"Hey, so, just to make it clear, I don't care if you do [x] with pot, but I'd prefer you not [y] indoors." Know, though, that once he comes back from his walk, you and your place will reek anyhow.
posted by jeather at 9:42 PM on September 26, 2008


he has no right to even bring it into your house let alone smoke it.
posted by docmccoy at 10:27 PM on September 26, 2008


Actually, you'll be surprised to learn that not only do you have to let him bring it into your house, but you must smoke it with him whenever he wants.

Kidding. It's your house, you're free to tell him that he has to wear hot pants and a sombrero as a condition of staying there. Just say "Dude, can you not smoke weed in the house? I'm not down with it you damned hippie. Kidding, but srsly. Kthx." Since he's a pot smoker and not an alcoholic, going without weed is not going to endanger his life.
posted by mullingitover at 10:55 PM on September 26, 2008


mael, i'm pretty sure jayder was being sarcastic. I suspect he/she was trying to make the point that it is painfully obvious or clearcut that OP has the right to define what goes on in their own place.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 11:07 PM on September 26, 2008


Seriously? Seriously? You already know the answer to this question. It doesn't matter what reason you have behind not wanting someone to do something in your living space, no matter how long they are staying. Your reasons don't have to extend beyond 'pot smells like crap and I don't want to breathe it constantly'. It's your house, and you set the rules. If this person complains then tell him to get his shit together and find somewhere else to stay.
posted by nunoidia at 11:33 PM on September 26, 2008


Your house, your (reasonable) rules. This rule is so far within the sphere of 'reasonable' that there is no possible question about its reasonableness.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:23 AM on September 27, 2008


You should tell him as soon as possible about your wishes and probably should have told him as soon as the idea of him staying with you was floated. If smoking is so important to him as it seems to be, he's probably going to want to find somewhere else to stay instead.
posted by hazyjane at 3:04 AM on September 27, 2008


If the smoke is the primary reason you're uncomfortable, ask him to use a vaporizer. No smoke, no odor, no messy cleanup. No issues with tar consumed through second-hand smoke. Vaporizers look like weird consumer electronic devices, rather than bongs, to prying eyes.

Consider the vaporizer as a win-win solution for both of you.
posted by Gordion Knott at 5:11 AM on September 27, 2008


It is safer that he doesn't smoke in the house with current drug laws. But it doesn't hure for you to give him alternatives if you are familiar with the area and he is not. Try to find nearby places that are secluded where he can go to smoke one if he needs to.
posted by JJ86 at 5:42 AM on September 27, 2008


Of course you have the right. You're getting caught up in the fact it's pot, how many people you know don't let friends smoke regular cigarettes when they stay, that's the house rules.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:59 AM on September 27, 2008


Do I have a right to ask him not to use drugs in my house?

Yes. It's YOUR house. You have a right to ask him to take off his shoes, not romp around naked, or ONLY romp around naked - whatever. YOUR house, YOUR rules.

As for pot, if he asks why you don't want him smoking, just tell him that stuff STINKS. Because it does.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:36 AM on September 27, 2008


Very true but there is a very high chance that you will smell like it. And if it is smoked in the house there's also a very high chance that your nice work clothes will smell like it too. So when you go into work, you get to smell like it whether you smoke it or not. If you smell like it day after day, to your employer, you might as well smoke it.

Um, have you ever seen, smoked, or been around marijuana? I'll admit that if he's sitting in your closet ripping bongloads into your dry cleaning, yeah, your clothes will pick up the smell, but if he's smoking a bowl in the living room you won't smell like it even if you're sitting in the room with him for 15 minutes while he's smoking. Pot smoke isn't nearly as sticky/clingy as cigarette smoke.

Not saying my opinion is any different than the consensus (your house, your rules), but I just had to correct this ridiculous notion. Also, I should stipulate that it's a common fallacy that smoking pot is illegal; in fact, possessing pot is illegal, not smoking it. A technicality, but as long as we're setting the record straight...

As a possible compromise, consider if you're willing to let him bake pot brownies when you're not home. It basically involves heating up butter on the stove, tossing the pot in, and cooking it for a while, after which point you strain out the pot. He can bake a huge batch of brownies once every week or two and get baked out of his mind discreetly. If you're not interested in letting him do this at your place (completely within your rights), but he still insists that he wants to get high at home, ask him if he can just bake brownies at a friend's house, as long as you don't mind him keeping a tupperware full of brownies in his closet.
posted by baphomet at 6:46 AM on September 27, 2008


I don't see the point of the "this is what you can do as a compromise" stuff. It's her house. He's the boarder. She's offering him a very reduced rent as a favor to him. She's allowed to have whatever house rules she has.

If her house rules were "no dogs" or "no cigarettes" or "no shoes in the house" or "no nekkid in the public spaces" would you be suggesting compromises for those? "Oh, if you let him have a really small dog, like a chihuahua, that would be a win/win for you!" "Oh, maybe he could get one of those ashtrays that has a little smoke filter on it--that would be a great compromise!" "What about if he just wore flip-flops?" "Hey, maybe he could carry a little loincloth around with him, and just slip it on when you were in the room!"

OP, you are allowed to have rules about your own house. If one of those rules is "no weed" that's your rule to have.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:48 AM on September 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Um, have you ever seen, smoked, or been around marijuana?"

This is a specific problem I encountered with a roommate who smoked small amounts of weed constantly throughout the day and couldn't be bothered to smoke it outside, not a ridiculous notion.
posted by 517 at 10:34 AM on September 27, 2008


I'm surprised no ones mentioned this yet, at least directly, but in some jurisdictions there are laws against allowing your house to be used for marijuna use.

For instance according to the Oregon State Bar "knowingly maintaining, visiting or even staying at a place where people are using, storing or selling marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $6,250 fine."

NORML has a state by state guide to the law.
posted by tallus at 10:38 AM on September 27, 2008


If the smoke is the primary reason you're uncomfortable, ask him to use a vaporizer. No smoke, no odor, no messy cleanup. No issues with tar consumed through second-hand smoke. Vaporizers look like weird consumer electronic devices, rather than bongs, to prying eyes.

Consider the vaporizer as a win-win solution for both of you.


This is the best answer. Do this and everyone will be happy.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:47 AM on September 27, 2008


You won't seem like a total dick, maybe a little uptight. Not smoking in your house is an easy concession.

You are of course well within your rights to tell him that you don't want it in the house, but if he doesn't have a car or a second friend who lives very close by, then he'll probably hold it and lie to you. Keeping it out of the house is a reasonable request, but not very realistic.

And yes, your boyfriend is biased.

If you're feeling generous, a vaporizer is a good way to go.
posted by BigSky at 11:01 AM on September 27, 2008


And just fyi, pot heads who say they won't bring weed into the house to mellow out some square who is freaking out on them are about as reliable as teenagers who say they aren't drinking or using the car after curfew.
posted by Scram at 12:44 PM on September 27, 2008


Damn you tallus! That was going to be my tidbit.
I forget what they call it here - but hell no you're not allowed to let people smoke weed in your house! If they want to they can charge you (with whatever it is) even if you honestly had no idea what was happening!! Because they're jerks...

But it is polite to ask about these sorts of things. So I would hope that they would be aware of that and will make it easier to broach the subject by asking how you feel about it.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 5:11 PM on September 27, 2008


What Sidhedevil said.

I'll be giggling about the loincloth for a while. That is SO something I can imagine one of my hippie friends suggesting as a "compromise".
posted by small_ruminant at 10:02 PM on September 27, 2008


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