It seems as if the country’s marijuana laws are in a constant state of flux these days. However, in all five boroughs of New York City, recreational use of marijuana is legal for residents aged 21 and older.
But the list of places where smoking cannabis is entirely banned is quite long. Basically, private dwellings are where marijuana users tend to smoke their stash without fear of arrest.
Does that mean that you must allow pot smoking in your tenants’ apartments?
It does not, although you may want to check any knee-jerk reactions to enforce total marijuana bans at your properties. Still, smoking anything, whether tobacco or marijuana, leaves distinctive odors that can infiltrate other apartments. The smoke can permeate fabrics and seep through cracks where non-users may complain about the exposure. That presents additional problems, as good landlords want to keep responsible, rent-paying tenants satisfied to avoid lease breaches and other headaches.
Heading trouble off at the pass
The best way to dodge issues related to your tenants’ use of marijuana is to clearly state your policy in the rental agreement. Total bans could introduce ADA compliance issues from medical marijuana patients, so you may want to designate smoking areas on balconies, patios or separate spaces in common areas for smokers.
You should also address vaping and edibles. These methods of ingestion typically are far less invasive or problematic to neighbors. You might want to limit your marijuana usage policies for tenants and their guests to only edibles and outdoor vaping.
Stay abreast of all changes in federal, state and local laws
With cannabis regulations at every level subject to change at any time, your best bet is to remain informed about the legalities and seek legal guidance if you face compliance challenges when implementing your policies.