Edwin Gray likes smoking cigarettes, but a Superior Court judge in Washington D.C. has ruled Gray can’t smoke anything in his home - including marijuana, which was recently legalized in the District.
Gray’s neighbors filed a civil lawsuit against Gray and his sister, Mozella Johnson, who lives in the family home. The neighbors, a couple with one child and another on the way, alleged in their lawsuit that they’re being harmed by Gray’s smoke - which permeates their home through a hole in the basement.
"We were floored," Johnson told WJLA. Their family has owned the home for 50 years.
The judge filed a temporary injunction and ordered that no one in the house, including guests, smoke indoors.
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Washington D.C. real estate attorney and Washington Post columnist Benny Kass was surprised at the outcome. "I think it’s an excellent precedent to start, so people can realize you can't just ignore your neighbor," Kass said. "Your home is no longer your castle."
The lawsuit asks for $500,000 in damages, and the case is ongoing, but Johnson believes the injunction sets a bad precedent. "If this judge has done this, who will be next? What other neighbor will be next?" he asked.
Kass thinks this case is just the first of many. "I think this is going to open the door to a lot of thinking, a lot of cases," she said. "I gotta believe once this comes out there's going to be 100 cases filed in Superior Court tomorrow.”
The couple who filed the lawsuit declined an interview with reporters, but they said in a statement they sought mediation with Gray before filing the suit.