The Real Deal Los Angeles

Landlords lament the lack of blunt rules over smoking weed inside

State legalization laws are in contradiction with federal laws, leaving landlords in a not-so-dank middle ground

June 21, 2016 12:00PM

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Luxe Villa apartments in Brentwood (credit: NMS Properties, Cali Weed Express)

Luxe Villa apartments in Brentwood (credit: NMS Properties, Cali Weed Express)

The reefer’s got landlords a little dazed and confused.

While more and more states have legalized medicinal and even recreational marijuana use, federal law maintains that it’s prohibited. Now, landlords are stuck in the middle as some smoke-free living proponents are urging them to extend the ban on cigarette smoking to include marijuana.

The problem with banning indoor marijuana, however, is that landlords are nervous about discriminating against renters with certain disabilities or medical conditions.

“You could have a tenant say, ‘It’s a violation for you to even ask me about it,’” Morgan Stewart, a partner at Irvine law firm Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, told Bloomberg.

“Maybe the landlord’s response is, ‘We operate pursuant to federal law.’ ‘Well, OK, but I’m a California tenant.’ Landlords are stuck in the middle.”

In the Golden State, lawmakers are considering a bill that grants explicit permission for landlords to ban smoking pot, which could damage carpeting and paint.

But the matter of enforcement may be a bigger problem. Stoners were never deterred when weed was illegal in every state, after all.

The California Apartment Association is certainly in support of the debated bill.

“This doesn’t stop them from other uses,” the group’s executive Tom Bannon said.

“There are things like edibles, or oils, or whatever.” [Bloomberg]Cathaleen Chen