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Tip #41: Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana legislation seems to be sprouting up everywhere.

Needless to say, permitting some tenants to smoke pot at home creates controversy for landlords.

On the one hand, the use of marijuana for any reason is still prohibited by federal law. The state of California is a different story. So are many municipalities across the country, where the sale of medical marijuana is now allowed.

Do you have to rent to a tenant who uses medical marijuana?

Is allowing a tenant to use marijuana in your unit a reasonable accommodation under the disabilities laws?

Be prepared to these answer questions when they come up.

If you rent HUD-subsidized properties, it is unlikely that you have to allow medical marijuana use on your premises. But if you rent in a jurisdiction that allows using medical marijuana and an applicant is asking for this accommodation, talk it over with your attorney.

You may have to allow it, even if it violates current language in your lease.

If you do have to accommodate a user, your attorney may be able to negotiate a way to accommodate their need without violating the law, and without angering, (or enticing!) other tenants. Fortunately, there are other methods for using medical marijuana that don’t set off smoke alarms, or leave your units and hallways smelling like a rock concert.

It is too soon to draw conclusions on how judges are going to rule on excluding or evicting tenants for medical marijuana use. We’ll have to keep an eye on this issue. To be continued….

See last weeks Landlord Quick Tip.

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