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Can my landlord forbid smoking marijuana?

The statewide legalization of recreational marijuana use continues to create frustrating legal conflicts, especially when it comes to where one can legally possess or use marijuana. Many tenants now face the difficult reality that their landlords may forbid them from growing, smoking or even keeping marijuana on the premises. Is this legal for landlords to do? It all depends on your lease.

Proposition 64 states that individuals in California may grow a certain number of cannabis plants within their homes and consume marijuana through smoking or other means, but also notes that landlords reserve the right to "forbid the possession or use of marijuana on their property subject to normal tenant law for renters." In broad terms, this means that even though you may legally smoke marijuana in California, you may not necessarily do so in your apartment if your lease restricts it.

The key here is what restrictions your lease places on smoking, whether it is traditional cigarettes or marijuana. In much the same way that a landlord may reasonably forbid a tenant from smoking cigarettes in an apartment or home, they may forbid smoking marijuana. While the law does mention forbidding possession, it is unlikely that a landlord would enforce a policy of no possession of marijuana as long as it is not smoked. However, it is still possible, and is legally still without a great deal of precedent to look to.

If you have any concerns about your freedoms to use your rented space as you see fit, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney to help you examine your lease or potentially negotiate terms with your landlord. With proper legal counsel, you can ensure that your right as a tenant remain respected and preserved.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Some California Renters Face Additional Restrictions on Smoking Pot at Home," Jessica Rice, June 21, 2017

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