Medical Marijuana user in mixed residential/commercial building

5 Replies

I recently closed on my first deal which is a building with 3 commercial properties on the bottom and 9 apartments on the second floor. A resident on the second floor is a medical marijuana user who vapes for her condition. The bottom floor office complains of smelling weed in the office at times. The building is non-smoking but after researching, it seems the tenant has the right to do so under state fair housing laws (PA) due to reasonable accommodation for her condition. Currently stuck on what to do in this situation. Any input would be appreciated.

You may have already done this but I would check with an attorney about the specifics of the law. That would be really disappointing if tenants are now allowed to smoke in the building because of that. I'm all for medical mar. but there are liquid forms that won't affect others. I've had tenants smoke pot in my building and it goes throughout the vents into other units. Not cool!

You may want to research the Clean Air Act. That is another federal law that impacts multi-tenant occupants from nuisances, including smoke/smell from other occupants. I don't know the specifics of MJ use to be limited to smoking but I would think there are other ways to get the medical benefits of the MJ through an edible or by some other means that doesn't impact others.

@Ryan Mangini which tenant is more important to you? The Commercial tenant that is complaining or the weed smoker? This is what would drive my actions. Personally, I think medical marijuana is B.S. It is not recognized by the FDA as a real drug because there is not enough data to determine if it actually works. I would tell the smoker that they are in violation of the lease (No smoking). There are other ways to use marijuana without smoking. CBD oil etc. I would give them notice that other tenants are complaining and that they should start looking for other living arrangements.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. Regardless of what some states think, federal law trumps state law including state fair housing laws. If she doesn't stop, you could, in theory, have her evicted for breaking the law. 

A reasonable accommodation would not allow her to disrupt the enjoyment and use or create a direct threat to another tenant. That is not reasonable. Her smoke creates a direct threat to another tenant (second hand smoke causes cancer) and disrupts their enjoyment and use. Her desired method of using marijuana is not reasonable. 

As always, consult with an attorney before taking any action.