Cannabis and Renting

As someone who has rented part of their house, I would like to discuss legal cannabis use in regards to tenants rights, as well as landlord rights. When it comes to renting in legal cannabis states, all allow landlords to prevent smoking in rental units. That doesn’t just apply to tobacco, but any other type of smoking as well. Sandra Faucett with Zillow reports that “Just as you can prohibit cigar or cigarette smoking in your rental, you can also prohibit pot smoking, or even its use, on your property.”

For a tenant with a medical marijuana license, this will obviously not be ideal. You may choose to look elsewhere, but given the current housing situations in places like Denver where a population boom has created housing shortages, that might not be ideal. Chris Deziel with Landlordology raises an interesting view for those facing this situation,

“People with medical marijuana prescriptions have persistent medical conditions. The Fair Housing Act might protect them since it prohibits discrimination based on disability. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, though, so it’s not clear how a court would rule, but who wants to test it?”

As Deziel says, this has yet to be tried in a court of law, but given the Federal Governments current stance, you better hope you get the right judge. Best bet for now, go to smoking alternatives. Items like melts, chocolates, rubs and even teas won’t raise suspicion and can be safely consumed in private. New vaporizers on the market promise reduced scent. High Times’ Adam Drury reported on this in October,

“However, vaporizers that burn concentrates, waxes and oils are virtually indistinguishable in smell and appearance from e-cigs. Today, it’s possible to find CBD and THC oils in any dispensary or retail store. They have the same flavors as e-cig juice—berries and candies and citrus and all manner of deliciousness.”

Cannabis users need to respect the wishes of their landlords. Not doing this shames those who have fought so hard for the movement forward on these issues. If you do choose to partake in combusting green leaves, plan on not getting back that deposit (at the least) and be prepared to be evicted if there is a no-smoking clause in your lease. You might not be able to smell it, but I guarantee your neighbors and everyone else in the building probably knows. If cannabis users wish to be respected and continue this forward progress, it must be built on mutual respect.

Landlords, if you prefer not to allow smoking on the premises, make it well known. Don’t waste renters time. If you choose to reduce the renter pool in a state with medical or recreational cannabis that is fully within your rights. Please, however, consider that some rely on this product to maintain a productive lifestyle. You wouldn’t try to prevent a tenant from using other prescribed medicines, so please have empathy and consider all sides when creating a policy for your rental property.


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