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Condo | HOA Lawyers

Marijuana Use in Associations – “Hey Man, It’s Medically Necessary”

If your Association is not facing this today, chances are, it will tomorrow. The law is trending across the country to allow more and more people to use marijuana legally—both for medical and recreational purposes. That can mean smoke and smells that other neighbors find to be a nuisance. What can an Association proactively do?

Just like Associations can do for cigarette smoking, you can amend your governing documents (best: Declaration or Bylaws) to prohibit marijuana smoking in units.  You can expect that residents and guests will still claim an entitlement to using medical marijuana on the grounds that allowing it is a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. However, that argument should not succeed, because although some state laws and city ordinances allow the use of marijuana, Federal law does not. Accordingly, there is nothing reasonable about allowing someone to violate Federal law. In addition, there are reasonable effective alternatives to smoking marijuana for medical benefits, including edibles and topical preparations. Therefore, Associations need not worry about taking away an owner’s “prescription” by prohibiting marijuana smoking on-premises.

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