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How legalizing medical use of marijuna may affect ladnlords and property managers in MA

We all remember that in November 2012 by the majority of vote Massachusetts approved the legalization of the medical marijuana use that is effective as of January 1, 2013. The law states that 'there should be no punishment under state law for qualifying patients, physicians and health care professionals, personal caregivers for patients, or medical marijuana treatment center agents for the medical use of marijuana.' Where use of medicinal marijuana is defined as 'the acquisition, cultivation, possession, processing, (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfer, transportation, sale, distribution, dispensing, or administration of marijuana.'

The implementation of this state law, however, raises many questions for landlords on how they would be affected by law in case their tenants would be qualified for legal use of medicinal marijuana.

The following concerns' landlords' may have in near future:

  • In section 5 of the provision,  'Nothing in this law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment, school bus or on school grounds, in any youth center, in any correctional facility, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.' But it does not clearly state anything related to landlords and the legal way to handle in case a qualified patient rents a property. Moreover, under a federal law it is unlawful to lease or make it available for use 'any building, room or enclosure' for illegal use of a controlled substance. That means landlords could still be liable for violating federal law.
  • In case of a landlord having qualifying patients as tenants, there is another issue whether to allow smoking and how other tenants in the same building could be affected as a second-hand smokers.
  • As follows from the statement above, landlords are faced with a new complication of how soon their buildings should go smoke-free.

Thus, it is still remains unclear on how the legalization of medicinal marijuana in the state would affect landlords and property managers.

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