Do you smoke cannabis? If yes, where do you smoke it?
Most often, the answer would be within a private area where you are away from the general public.
But what if your landlord does not allow smoking cannabis in the building?
It’s no secret that the recreational and medicinal use of cannabis in the state of California is legal. In fact, California has become a home to the nation’s largest legal pot market.
But still many cannabis users run afoul of state and country laws, which puts them in a dilemma of how and where to consume cannabis legally.
If you are a medical marijuana enthusiast and looking to rent an apartment or home, you must be wondering if you can legally smoke it in your home. Well, the answer is not that simple or straightforward.
For a cannabis user, renting an apartment is all about the legal agreement you sign with your landlord when moving into it. Landlord-tenant rights, insurance policies and obligations are less about your landlord’s thoughts on cannabis and more about your agreement policy.
Does your landlord has the right to evict you?
First of all, it’s important to understand whether your landlord has the right to evict you. Here, we are talking about a fixed term residential tenancy. Monthly tenancies are not often applicable in such scenarios as landlords do not need a cause to evict such tenants. In contrast, a fixed term tenancy binds the tenant and the landlord for a particular time period (e.g. 1 year or more). So ending the lease prematurely is considered a breach of contract. If the landlord wants to terminate the contract with the tenant, the only option is to provide a 3-day notices. The two 3-day notices are –
- Notice to perform covenant or quit
- Notice to quit
The first option gives the tenant an opportunity to fix the problem, whereas the second required the tenant to leave the premises within 3 days. However, to legally evict the tenant with a 3-days notice, the landlord must have a valid reason.
Medical Marijuana legality
By now, everyone knows that medical marijuana is legal at the state level but still considered federally illegal. In the state of California, medical marijuana is legal. Federally, it is considered as a Schedule I drug and can get you in trouble if you caught smoking or possessing it. But as cannabis is legal in California, can it get you evicted for smoking or possessing it in your home?
Understanding the laws thoroughly can provide some guidance on how, when and on what causes a landlord can evict you.
First you need to know whether eviction actions fall under the state law or federal law. Eviction actions, also known as unlawful detainers, generally fall under the state law which means the state courts usually comply with the state law.
Secondly, you should know how much cannabis you are allowed to possess. According to the California law, you are allowed to possess a certain amount of cannabis if you have a medical marijuana card. However, if you fail to obtain a recommendation, possessing cannabis becomes illegal.
The last thing you should know whether possessing cannabis illegally is a reason enough to get your evicted from the house. In the state of California, a person who possesses 28.5 grams of cannabis is only guilty of an infraction but possessing more than that is a felony according to Health & Safety Code 11357. So if you are possessing 28.5 grams and your landlord makes a cause to evict you, you can have a colorable argument that you are not breaking the law. But remember you need to have a valid medical marijuana recommendation to possess medical marijuana. Failure to present a legitimate recommendation can get your evicted.
What your landlord can do if you’re caught smoking?
As mentioned earlier, your landlord has the right to ask you to leave the apartment on the basis of a valid cause. Moreover, if your lease agreement has a clause stating that smoking or medical marijuana is prohibited in the premises, you can be evicted if caught smoking cannabis. Having said you, tenants have their own rights where they can take the case in court.
Remember cannabis is only legal at the state level. Any landlord or property owner has the right to prohibit its use in the premises of the building. As long as you own a legit recommendation, you are protected by the state law.