Today is 4/20, a famous day for all marijuana smokers. Marijuana legalization continues to spread in the US – there are now 28 states and the District of Columbia where some form of marijuana is legal. While a pleasing habit for some, the smoke can be unpleasant for others. In a Condo Association, this of course creates natural tensions, similar to those that arise related to regular tobacco smoking. The landscape continues to change, and this post will focus on interesting articles over the past year related to marijuana use in Condo Associations. Whether you enjoy the product or not, here is the 2017 Condo Association Marijuana Roundup.
Ricardo Baca, The Denver Post, 12/12/16
This is an important article because it captures the breadth of the marijuana industry, at least in Colorado. With a billion dollars in legal sales in 10 months of 2016, it is clear that the marijuana ecosystem is large. Some of this may be driven by “pot tourism” and visitors from neighboring states, but the demand is clearly there. This is important for Condo Associations to recognize, because with big numbers like that, other states will push to legalize as well to get their cut of the action.
Benny L. Kass, The Chicago Tribune, 1/30/17
This article is an excellent write-up which explains the order of precedent in Condo documents and the sorts of actions an Association can take to ban marijuana smoking. Unfortunately, according to Mr. Kass, this is a tricky issue. Much like tobacco smoking, a building-wide ban likely requires an amendment to the Condo Bylaws or declaration, which is often an extremely difficult vote to pull off. If you are interested in learning more about your options, this is a great article to read.
Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Tribune, 11/24/16
This is another excellent article which spells out some of the options landlords – and Associations – have in dealing with medical marijuana. Of particular interest is that there is a great deal of flexibility, at least in California, to ban marijuana in leases themselves. This is another tool that Condo Associations can consider when working with investment Owners or leasing out space they own directly. However, the article notes the tricky issues of medical marijuana and whether or not it can be banned.
Catherine Cruz, KITV 4 Island News, 3/28/17
Hawaii has recently legalized marijuana, and the state is bracing for complaints regarding marijuana smoke smells. The state has attempted to balance the challenge of medical smokers receiving benefit from the drug against the nuisance to others, but with mixed results. One advantage Hawaii has is that many new buildings are being started as smoke-free in their Condo declarations, which eliminates the problem from the start. However, that only helps new construction.
Lessons from the 2017 Condo Association Marijuana Roundup
It is clear that marijuana is on the rise in American society, and that means it will affect Condo Associations. While there is still a lack of clarity on a number of things, Condo Associations have tools to deal with marijuana. Associations can work toward Bylaw amendments or seek to put in restrictions on rentals. They need to also be wary of issues with medical marijuana usage. Beyond this, however, it is clear that marijuana will remain a hazy area going forward.
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