Can Your Landlord Kill Your Buzz?

Proposition 64 was supposed to bring greater clarity to the state’s marijuana laws, but there are still plenty of questions about what’s legal and what’s not under the California’s legalization measure. One of the biggest questions is this: Since marijuana smoking is now permitted, can your landlord bar you from lighting up in the privacy of your own home? As LA Weekly explains, pretty much.

Under Proposition 64 and reigning landlord-tenant policy, rental leases can ban smoking on the premises, tobacco or otherwise. Even if the contract doesn’t explicitly address marijuana, there are a number of other pre-fabricated stipulations — including a “no illegal drug” policy, a nuisance clause and a rule banning tenants from violating state or federal law — that can be invoked to put the kibosh on your cannabis, experts say.

Even Angelenos with a therapeutic need for weed may have few rights to it, as medical marijuana users are not a protected class, attorney Eric Shevin, general counsel for cannabis private equity investment firm 7th Point LLC, said in an email.

“This is true even under the Americans With Disabilities Act due to the current federal scheduling, which denies any and all medical use,” he said. “The only classes of people who cannot be discriminated against are those in protected classes: race, gender, age, sexual orientation and alienage.”

Much of this is still a grey area and there are gradations under the law. A medical marijuana user is probably in better shape than a recreational user, a consumer of edibles will probably have a better legal case than a smoker, and a renter of a single-family home could be in better shape than a renter in a complex. But overall, when it comes to marijuana use and cultivation, the new law still gives great deference to landlords to decide what kind of community they want for their tenants. So check your rental policies before lighting up.