Are Renters Allowed to Smoke Medical Marijuana?

Throughout the course of marijuana legalization, there have been a number of stories published regarding pot laws and how they apply to renters in medical marijuana and recreational states. In most cases, tenants are not permitted to smoke legal weed on rental properties because, most of the time, the landlord has a “drug free” addendum written in the lease agreement that prohibits this sort of activity.

However, not all property owners are against the idea of allowing tenants to smoke pot inside the home, with some even going as far as to address their liberal stance on marijuana within the lease. Yet, realty experts argue this concept might not be the smartest business decision for those who would like to maintain possession of their investment.

During a recent Realtors Conference and Expo in New Orleans, Megan Booth, Senior Policy Representative for the National Association of Realtors, discussed several issues pertaining the property managers in legal marijuana states. She said that although some states have legalized cannabis, it remains illegal under federal law, which makes it dangerous for landlords to give tenants verbal or written permission to use marijuana on their property.

“State marijuana laws haven’t been challenged at the Supreme Court yet,” said Booth. “That’s why they stand.”

While it is unlikely the federal government will swoop in an intervene with voter approved amendments, if push comes to shove, Uncle Sam can seize bank accounts and property associated with illegal drug activity, even when that substance is considered legal at the state level. Booth said that until there no longer exists the threat of the feds riding into town and putting a devastating end to the so-called marijuana experiment, it is best if property owners leave anything revealing they are pro-weed out of their rental agreements.

In fact, Booth said it is advisable for landlords and property managers to continue employing the use of agreements that prohibit the use of illegal drugs to minimize risk and liability.

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