COACH's Pop Quiz!

Q: Do we have to allow residents to smoke marijuana at our community?


A: Generally speaking, you don’t have to allow residents to smoke marijuana at your community.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, though momentum has been building under state law to legalize marijuana for medical as well as recreational use. At last count, 29 states and the District of Columbia allow use of medical marijuana; nine states and the District of Columbia have gone further to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

These conflicting rules affect communities in different ways, depending on where you’re located and whether you receive federal funding. If you’re located in states where marijuana remains an illegal drug under both federal and state law, you don’t have to allow use of marijuana, whether it’s for medical or recreational use. Furthermore, public and federally funded housing providers are not required to permit the use of recreational or medical marijuana—even in states where it’s legal.

In states allowing the use of medical or recreational marijuana, the rules are less clear-cut. Most standard leases ban the use of the premises for criminal activity, but you may consider adding lease terms explicitly stating any restrictions on possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana at your community. And if your community has a no-smoking policy, you could update your policy to ban smoking of marijuana as well as cigarettes and other tobacco products.

To learn more, see the Coach’s May 2018 lesson, “Fair Housing at 50: Emerging Trends That Could Affect Your Community,” available to our subscribers here.