Boston residents are filling the city’s potpourri-like air with the smell of recreational marijuana according to a recent article by the Boston Globe. Massachusetts’ voters have elected to legalize marijuana and apparently the rowdy residents of the capital city are embracing their new found freedom.
Bonnie Sashin smelled it wafting on State Street. Cathy Kleinbart gets a daily whiff on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Asya Partan encountered it while waiting to cross the BU Bridge. “A couple of guys opened a window and a cloud blew out,” she said.
Samantha Shapiro’s children smell it so often that her 9-year-old recently posed a question: “Why are there so many more skunks around?”
Sorry, kid, it’s not skunks.
As surely as Boston’s rising glass towers are changing the city’s look, marijuana smokers emboldened by the drug’s new legal status are altering the scentscape.
Despite all the discussion and lobbying ahead of last November’s ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana, the stinky problem of second-hand toking never seemed to be a big part of the conversation. But it’s turning out to be a meaningful factor, as people smoke in public (even though that is not allowed) and in their apartments or condos (which is sometimes allowed and sometimes not).
Cannabis, it seems, may be joining Greater Boston’s roster of iconic smells.
“I’ve had seniors come by and say they smell pot outside, in parks and on the streets, and I smell it, too,” said Representative Russell E. Holmes, a Democrat whose district includes Mattapan, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roslindale and parts of Jamaica Plain.
“I’ve had people in rental properties who are very upset because strong pot smells are coming through the vents and the heaters,” Holmes added. He voted against pot legalization.
Cannabis, it seems, may be joining Greater Boston’s roster of iconic smells, both those still with us (sausages sizzling outside of Fenway Park, Lynn beach at low tide, the weird smell emanating from the Downtown Crossing T entrance) and those that live on in olfactory memory (the Baker Chocolate factory in Lower Mills, Buzzy’s Roast Beef after the bars closed).
Weed has long been part of Greater Boston’s bouquet, of course — the poster scent for Allston or Harvard Square or Boston Common. But in those areas you expect it. These days, the smell often catches you by surprise — on the Minuteman Bikeway at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday? Really? — and transports you.