Currently, medicinal use of marijuana is legal in 26 states and the District of Columbia. In general, the law requires people to consume marijuana in their homes rather than in public spaces, but many landlords are not happy about the idea of people using drugs on their properties. If you use marijuana for medicinal purposes, here's how to discuss the issue with your landlord and get him or her to agree to let you use cannabis on the property.
Get All the Facts First
Before approaching your landlord, it's important to gather information about the person, your lease, and local laws detailing what your respective rights are. Some landlords are marijuana-friendly and don't care if you use the drug in the rental unit; in which case, you may only need to show him or her your medical card indicating you have the legal right to use the drug.
Other landlords may be completely against it and say as much in the lease. It may still be possible to convince your landlord to let you use marijuana on the property. However, unless you get the lease amended, the landlord could use your cannabis use as an excuse to evict you. Currently, the American with Disabilities Act doesn't cover medical cannabis users—because the drug is still illegal at the federal level—so the landlord would be within his or her rights.
Still other landlords don't care one way or the other but, instead, are following the law. In some areas, cannabis is treated like cigarettes, and people are prohibited from smoking in or around certain facilities, such as multiunit dwellings (e.g. apartments). You would have to rent a house from a cannabis-friendly landlord to get around this problem.
Having all the relevant information beforehand can help you formulate what to say to your landlord when you meet with them face to face.
Talking to Your Landlord
Schedule a time to meet privately with your landlord. It's probably a good idea to take your medical marijuana card and doctor's reports showing why you were prescribed the drug. Having this information may make your landlord more sympathetic to your plight. If you're using cannabis to help deal with cancer pain, for instance, your landlord may be more willing to work out an agreement with you.
There are a few different issues your landlord may be concerned with regarding your marijuana use.
- How often you use it
- Whether or not you grow it
- Possible damage to the unit resulting from smoking cannabis
- Complaints from other residents
The complaints from other residents will likely be tied directly to how often you use the drug. Some people don't like the smell, and others are allergic to smoke, regardless of whether it cannabis, cigarettes, or something else. The more you use the drug, the higher the chance there may be complaints.
One way around this is to consume the drug in other forms if possible. Making edibles, like cannabis brownies, is a good way to get the drug in your system while eliminating the smoke factor. Vaporizing can also keep the smell to a minimum.
Growing pot requires a lot of electricity and water, and your landlord may balk at this if utilities are included in your rent because his or her costs will go up. Offering to pay some of the utility bill may win him or her over; otherwise, you may need to give your plants away and buy your cannabis from a dispensary or online source that offers legal weed for sale.
Lastly, cannabis can leave a lingering odor in the rental unit, just like cigarettes. Even though you may be careful, you could also accidentally burn holes in the carpeting or get scorch marks on counters and walls. It's a given you would be responsible for fixing this type of damage, but proposing to pay a larger deposit may make your landlord feel better about letting you use cannabis in the rental.
Be sure to get any agreement you make with the landlord in writing to prevent any problems or misunderstandings in the future.
For more information about local marijuana laws or to purchase cannabis for medical use, contact a seller near you.