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Do you smoke cannabis? If yes, where do you smoke it? Most often, the answer would be within a private area where you are not in view of the general public. But what if your landlord does not allow smoking cannabis in the building? Can you get evicted for smoking weed? It’s no secret that the recreational and medicinal use of cannabis in the state of California is legal. In fact, California is home to the nation’s largest legal pot market. But still, many cannabis users run afoul of state and federal laws, which puts them in a dilemma of how and where to consume cannabis legally. If you are a medical marijuana enthusiast and are 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.
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 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 notice. These are the two types of 3-day notices:
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.
By now, everyone knows that medical marijuana is legal at the state level but remains illegal federally. In the state of California, medical marijuana is legal but federally, it is considered as a Schedule I drug and can get you in trouble if you are caught smoking or possessing it. But because of the haze around the facts, people often find themselves confused about whether it is safe to consume or possess it in your house. When you are living as a tenant, things may get a little tricky. Being canna-curious myself, I wondered about this a lot. And that is why I felt it is important to let people understand the law better with respect to consuming cannabis on the premises of your home. I personally have been a victim to this; constantly wondering “can I get evicted for smoking weed?” Ah…so much for a living being to handle. And having a grumpy landlord is just the icing on the cake. So, does your landlord have a couple of horns sticking out of his head as well? Living in the dilemma of whether he will let you live or evict you is something you don’t fancy, right? 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 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 their state laws. Secondly, you should know how much cannabis you are allowed to possess. According to California law, you are allowed to possess a certain amount of cannabis if you have a medical marijuana card in California. However, if you fail to obtain a recommendation, possessing more than an ounce of cannabis becomes illegal. The last thing you should know about whether possessing cannabis illegally is enough to get you evicted from your rented 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 the Health & Safety Code 11357. So if you are possessing less than 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 cannabis bud and products. Failure to present a legitimate recommendation can get you evicted.
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 on the premises, you can be evicted if caught smoking cannabis. Having said that, tenants have their own rights which if they feel are getting constricted can take a legal route. Remember cannabis is only legal at the state level. Any landlord or property owner has the right to prohibit its use on the premises of the building. As long as you own a legit recommendation, you are protected by state law. All you need to do is look for a smoke-friendly accommodation. But this time it would be better if you ask your landlord about smoking cannabis beforehand. So, do you have the answer to the question, “can you get evicted for smoking weed?” If you still have questions, start a conversation in the comments section below.