Judge issues ruling barring DC man from smoking inside his home

The District's new marijuana law allows people to smoke pot in their homes. There are already some non-marijuana smokers concerned about the pot smoke wafting into their homes.  

But a judge ruled a D.C. man can't even smoke cigarettes in his own home because it bothers his next-door neighbors.

Edwin Gray is lighting up a cigarette in the rain because a court order says he can't smoke one in his house.

"Never in a million years did I think that it would go this far," said Gray's sister, Mozella Johnson.

Gray and Johnson are sifting through paperwork from a court case that has dragged on for weeks. They say they are being sued for $500,000 by their neighbors.

The Coppinger family moved into the newly-renovated rowhouse next door several months ago. They didn't want to speak on camera, but say Gray's home is not up to housing code.

An inspector found holes in the basement wall and claim a lot of smoke is seeping into their house. But Gray and his sister maintain the problem isn't theirs.

"You paid all this money for this house -- put some insulation," said Gray. "If you put insulation and cover up your wall, then if it's really our problem, we're going to dive straight into it and help work with you."

The Coppingers say an inspector found nothing wrong with their home, but it is clear Gray and Johnson are not backing down from this fight. They plan to file an appeal.

"The common denominator is that house has been renovated," said Johnson. "That house was totally gutted. He didn't do it properly. It shows downtown that it wasn't done properly because there was a stop work order on it for six weeks. So the common denominator is not this house. It's that house."

"It's plain and simple they don't want us here," she added.

The Coppinger family says they don't care if their neighbors smoke. They just want them to fix the holes in the basement wall. They are concerned about the health of their child and they have another baby on the way.

But legal experts say this case sets a bad precedent moving forward. Not just for cigarette smokers, but for anyone hoping to smoke anything in the privacy of their home.

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