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Cannabis aroma can be contentious. In legal marijuana markets, the pungent scent is often a major sticking point. From required air filtration to legal cases regarding consumption in apartments, the plant’s odor comes into question frequently.
In other places, the smell of weed can be enough for police to conduct searches. And apparently, in Texas, it may also lead to discrimination.
According to a report in Dallas Observer, an East Dallas restaurant has seen a social media firestorm ignited over its policy on pot-smoking patrons.
A sign on the door of E-Bar Tex Mex reads, “If you have the smell of marijuana on you we will not serve you.”
While the restaurant’s anti-cannabis policy has been in place for a number of years, it only recently went viral after a visitor posted on Facebook.
According to Texas law, businesses have the right to deny service as long as they do not violate anti-discrimination laws. So while a restaurant cannot exclude people based on race, national origin, or gender, being a cannabis consumer is not protected.
Since E-Bar Tex Mex has a clearly placed sign informing potential guests of their distaste for pot smokers, the exclusion of marijuana odor is permitted under local law.
The restaurant owner, Ernie Quinlanta, told the Dallas Observer that the issue is two-fold. First off, the aroma of cannabis may be a distraction for his patrons.
“People reeking of marijuana, it just ruins everybody’s experience around them, you can’t possibly have a great meal with someone who has that much odor,” Quinlantan said.
Despite the subjective nature of Quinlanta’s initial reasoning, his follow-up made a smidge more sense.
“If you’re reeking of marijuana, then you’re already under the influence,” Quinlantan reportedly argued, adding that his staff is taught not to serve alcohol to people who are clearly intoxicated.
The case of this Texas restaurant is just a small example of the continued battle for equanimity among cannabis consumers. While relatively low-stakes, the story shines a light on a broader conversation around paper-thin excuses for blatant discrimination.
Typically, people of color are far more likely to be the victims of these types of systemic prejudices. Whether based on how you smell or how you dress, the bottom line is people are still searching for ways to perpetuate inequalities that have existed for generations.