Saturday, August 3, 2013

It’s “high time” we talk medical marijuana!

Medical marijuana has been legal in Washington & Oregon for several years. (The 502 initiative legalizing marijuana in Washington does not amend or repeal the medical marijuana laws (chapter 69.51A RCW) in Washington in any way. The laws relating to authorization of medical marijuana by healthcare providers are still valid and enforceable.)

If you own or manage communities, you need to have a policy regarding residents' use of the substance on your property. Many communities are now smoke free either as a result of owner preferences or driven by resident requests. Smoking is smoking, cigarettes, pipes, cigars, hookahs, roaches. You can forbid it all, but if, because of a disability, someone asks to smoke their medical marijuana as a reasonable accommodation, you will need to consider that request. And unless such marijuana use becomes a nuisance (in the legal or lease sense-be careful in coming to that conclusion), or it conflicts with someone else's disability, you most likely must allow the resident this accommodation.

Medical marijuana is a complicated topic. Several questions come to mind. Can you or the owner deny the accommodation because of federal law (feds still maintain marijuana use for any purpose is illegal)? Does smoking marijuana leave residue in a dwelling? If so, is that considered normal wear & tear? What if the dwelling is not rentable because of the lingering odor and you have to replace carpets or perform other expensive remedies? Can you ask the resident to see if they can accomplish the same outcome, relief from pain and nausea through other means such as take in marijuana in another way (brownies anyone?).

So before you say no to medical marijuana, consider reaching out to your own legal counsel to help you take the right road on this. In some cases, it might be the high road. 
Posted by Joanne Vanderhoef
Marketing and Media Specialist

The Management Group
Property and HOA Management in Vancouver WA and Portland OR

1 comment:

  1. Does smoking marijuana leave a residual odor that has to be addressed on turnover (like tobacco would)? What about vaporizing it, which isn't really the same as smoking when it comes to particles and smoke?