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DEAR GABBY: Marijuana & Multifamily - What Do I Need to Know?

DEAR GABBY: Marijuana & Multifamily - What Do I Need to Know?

Dear Gabby,

I’m really curious about marijuana and how it is affecting the apartment industry.  And what’s the deal with smoking pot in apartments? Is it ok to do?  Asking for a friend.





Dear #ItsAJointEffort,

Please be sure to share this blog link with your “friend”.  This topic seems to be becoming more and more of a HIIIIIIGH priority discussion in the multifamily industry. Here’s what you need to know…

If a police officer asks, “How high are you?” – don’t respond back with, “No officer, it’s ‘Hi, how are you?’”  

I kid, I kid…. Most apartment complexes nowadays don’t want residents smoking anything (tobacco or marijuana) because it damages walls, carpets, etc. - not to mention that other non-smokers living in the buildings can be unwillingly subjected to secondhand smoke. The best policy for multifamily owners/managers: To have a non-smoking policy. 

No matter which side of the fence you’re on regarding marijuana use, we all want the best experience possible for our residents. As most of us know, it can be difficult to identify a specific resident or apartment home that is lighting it up. It isn’t always obvious which apartment the smoke is coming from which adds to the difficulty in determining who is not playing by the rules. These days, most people have no idea what’s higher…phone bills, gas prices, or their neighbors.


It can be increasingly frustrating and irritating for unwillingly exposed residents as they often times will become combative with the office staff that things aren’t being taken care of. Truth is, a resident must be “caught in the act” in order to build a case for eviction. This can take time and diligence on the staff’s part in order to prove a lease violation has occurred.


Final Thoughts         

As other forms of using marijuana are becoming more available such as edibles, vaporizers, etc. (not that I know what these things are), the smoking option could diminish and perhaps eventually “go up in smoke”. In the event of marijuana acceptance continuing to flourish, consumption by way of smoke-less methods is ultimately where I see the middle ground taking shape in the future for apartment communities. It removes secondhand smoke for unwillingly exposed residents while allowing use for those who choose to indulge – forming a joint regulation.

Bottom line, the laws and guidelines around marijuana are still rather hazy. Say "no" to drugs.  Then again, if you're talking to drugs, you're probably already on drugs. *siiiiiiigh*

Until next time, signing off...

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  • Ashley

    I have a question regarding this. If you have a resident that smokes marijuana due to medical reason, can you tell them not to smoke if you are a non-smoking community? I feel like it would be discrimination, such as people who have "service animals" for medical reasons and we cannot ask. Hummmmm....

  • My understanding is that it is not a discrimination claim to deny an accommodation request to allow illegal activity. Even if the state allows for it, 21 USC §802 does not, and the Kanovsky Memo has made it clear (well, clearer) that it HUD will be less-likely to act on such a denial.


  • Jeff

    If you are a non smoking community and they say its for medical reasons. Great you don't need to smoke it. Eat it. There are edibles, oils and other ways they can get what they need without smoking it. Plus if they eat it you don't get the smell.

    If you are the staff you have to be consistent and make sure everyone doesn't smoke and if you see them address it otherwise the non smoking policy will mean nothing.

  • Rusty Grant

    I feel we should be concerned with all health hazards and am concerned especially for children being exposed to even "vape smoke". According to Scientific American:

    "A small study by Wolfgang Schober of the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority and colleagues published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health in December found that vaping worsened indoor air quality, specifically by increasing the concentration of nicotine, particulate matter, PAHs and aluminum — compounds that have been linked to lung and cardiovascular disease and cancer among other health effects."
    Only a ban on all air born carcinogens could be a solution. I personally would include Bar-B-Queing in the rough draft.

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