What Should Property Managers Do About [Legal] Marijuana?

Residents’ prescriptions are none of their property managers’ business. And that’s probably for the best. When a resident comes down to the office to make a maintenance request, it’s better that the property manager doesn’t say, “Sure, I’ll fix that toilet [which you probably clogged up with your hemorrhoid ointment].” But what if that prescription is for marijuana?

With marijuana being legalized in some states, this might be something property managers have to contend with, especially in smoke-free buildings. After all, you can make buildings smoke free, but no one has a prescription for cigarettes. Marijuana, legal or otherwise, could still make apartments stink (which could make the apartment harder to rent in the future), could be a fire hazard (which could endanger residents), and could cause a run on the Dorito supply in the common area. (Though—ancillary income alert!—maybe property managers could set up bodega-type stores in communities that have a lot of people with “prescriptions” and sell junk food and black light posters. Did I sound like a narc there? I totally feel like I sounded like a narc.)

Maybe it could be stipulated on the lease that residents would not be able to smoke anything in their apartments, but that there is an outdoor area where it is permitted. Or maybe, like in pet-friendly communities that charge per dog, there would be a fee that residents would have to pay if they planned to smoke marijuana in the apartment in order to cover damages or maintenance associated with the smoke. But, again, residents do not have to disclose medical information, so this probably couldn’t go in a lease. And no one is going to voluntarily pay up after the fact if it didn’t say they had to on the lease.

And then what to do about the residents who don’t actually have prescriptions and are smoking illegally? Illegal drugs are obviously a no-no at communities, but you couldn’t demand to see a doctor’s note. (Or could you? I mean, my gym teachers always did when I claimed I was too sick to play volleyball, so maybe you could.)

What are your thoughts on medical marijuana in apartment communities?

-Jessica Fiur, Senior Editor

Photo credit: Atomazul