Are Landlords Allowed to Ban Cannabis in a Legal State?
Lately, as the legalization of cannabis use overtakes an increasing number of states, the eviction of tenants who smoke cannabis in a rented property has also been on the rise. It seems that most of these conflicts happen because of inhaled products, and the answer is somewhere in between the state and federal laws.
As it seems, there are two categories for cannabis products — those that are consumed by inhaling, and all of the rest. The private housing market usually allows edibles and topicals since they don’t bother anyone and they don’t affect the environment.
However, when it comes to smoking cannabis, and smoking in general, it is forbidden.
The reasons for this are somewhat logical. Smoke gets into everything — carpets, drapes, furniture, and it also leaves a sticky film on the walls and ceiling, which can only be removed by repainting. More damage can be caused if people who smoke drop some ash on the carpet, so the landlord would have to repaint, fumigate, and re-carpet everything when the smoker moves out.
Vaping is a bit of a complicated territory. Whether or not it’s considered smoking depends on the state regulations. Landlords can forbid vaping if the state defines it as the same as smoking.
Furthermore, landlords can be held responsible for the loss of property, various injuries, and emotional anguish; the main reason why they come up with so lengthy leases that are full of restrictions. Smoking cannabis in a rented property can be a part of these liabilities, and not just because of the damage it can cause to the property in question, but because it also represents a health issue for the neighbors, and it can annoy other tenants as well. In addition, smoking anything indoors can be a potential fire hazard.
Public housing has even more draconian rules. Private landlords may allow smoking in a rented property, but if it’s publicly funded housing, landlords must ban smoking cannabis, because, on a federal level, cannabis is still an illegal drug. This also gives them the right to evict anyone who breaks this rule.
What about the tenants who use cannabis for medicinal purposes and have a card? Well, they don’t have any additional rights, either. If a disabled tenant has a medicinal marijuana card, and they live on a privately funded estate, they may be able to request a change in the property’s smoking policy, which is also known as “reasonable accommodation” under the Fair Housing Act.
Sadly, most of these requests are denied, but courts are trying to find some solutions.
Unfortunately, tenants don’t have much say in changing the policies on “no smoking.” Nevertheless, they’re still able to consume cannabis in a non-combustible way if they live in a private building as landlords don’t have the right to ban this.
Tenants should be able to do whatever they want as long as they don’t damage the property, or put other tenants in danger, or make their lives miserable.