Medical Marijuana: Clear the Air Regarding HOA Members' Use
Across the country, momentum has been building to legalize marijuana—at least for medical use. Though marijuana is still illegal under federal law, more than 20 states have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws—and more may soon follow.
If your state has—or is considering—a medical marijuana law, then review your options with your attorney about whether—and to what extent—the association may regulate its use at the community. For starters, ask whether the law in your state permits you to limit or ban the use of medical marijuana. In Maryland, for example, the law allows condominium boards to adopt a policy against marijuana smoking at the community. Similar measures have been proposed in other states, but few have gained much traction.
As medical marijuana laws take effect, HOAs should be prepared to handle associated problems, particularly complaints about second-hand smoke drifting into common areas or neighboring units through shared ventilation systems or smoking on balconies or patios. And even if your governing documents ban smoking of any kind, you still may face requests for an exception to that ban from members who have been prescribed medical marijuana to treat a disability. Under the Fair Housing Act, you’re required to consider making such an exception as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability.
For an in-depth discussion of how associations should approach these and other medical marijuana issues, see “What Associations Should Know About Medical Marijuana,” available to subscribers here.