Associations' Concern Grows Over Legal Pot

Associations' Concern Grows Over Legal Pot

A recent meeting of the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) centered on issues arising from the passage of a 2012 Colorado referendum legalizing the smoking of marijuana and possession of as many as six marijuana plants. CAI addressed managers’ and associations’ fears about pot smoking in communities, including fielding complaints about the smell of marijuana.

Panelists at the meeting said it’s common for condominiums that ban smoking to already have provisions in place to warn and penalize residents who create offensive odors in their units, whether from smoke or other activities. So, many of the concerns stemming from marijuana odors are already covered by rules regarding tobacco smoking and other odor-related regulations.

The issue is most pressing for residential complexes without smoking bans. Amendment 64 and Colorado’s Indoor Clean Air Act prohibit smoking marijuana in public areas such as a condo’s lobby, clubhouse, and pool. Interpretations aren’t so clear about smoking pot in a unit, from which smoke can spread into common areas. While associations can be more restrictive than local laws, attorneys at the event indicated that they don’t anticipate communities will be interested in regulating marijuana or banning it altogether, because complaints could be handled in the same manner as tobacco complaints—for instance, by asking members to install door thresholds to prevent smoke from escaping into hallways. Some manager-attendees noted that complaints about pot smoking haven’t risen in their communities since Colorado fully legalized pot in November.


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