Landlord and Tenant Rights Conflict Over Cannabis

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One of the most frustrating issues with cannabis legalization is how social issues seem to constantly crop up around legalization in different states. For example, employers in states that have legalized cannabis can still discriminate against their workers, even if they have a medical recommendation for the plant.

In some cases, workers who use cannabis on their own time have been denied workers’ compensation benefits because of a drug test result that does not show they were impaired on the job. Another area of law that cannabis legalization has had an impact on is rental law.

Many landlords will include clauses in a new lease that allow them to evict their tenants when they violate the law in a rental unit. If a tenant in a state without legalization gets caught growing or using cannabis in a rental property, their landlord can usually summarily evict them as a result.

However, even tenants in states where it is legal can find themselves losing their place to live if their landlord chooses to be a jerk. Tenants completely complying with the state law, potentially going so far as to move outside to smoke their cannabis, could still find themselves facing eviction if their landlord has a clause and at least that prohibits cannabis use.

Even those with a clear medical need for cannabis they have a hard time winning over the courts or their landlord when they try to stand up for their right to use cannabis on the property. The landlord may be able to successfully convince the courts that the potential damage caused by smoke or smell is more of an issue than the tenant’s freedoms and medical rights.

Unfortunately, that means that landlords have almost all of the control and power in these scenarios, leaving cannabis users and even those who work with cannabis who may bring the smell home with them vulnerable to losing their housing.

Given that many states do not allow for the legal consumption of cannabis outside, people who enjoy the plant may have no option but to indulge in their rental unit. Finding landlords who are amenable to inside smoking can be difficult, but it is probably a worthwhile effort for those who rely on cannabis for medical reasons or simply really enjoy having a drink to calm down after a long day at work.

For previous Ladybud coverage about cannabis discrimination, click here.