For over five years residents in Washington D.C. have had the ability to use medical and recreational marijuana in the privacy of their homes. However, that same privacy is not always available to tenants who have landlords that wish for them not to use the plant-based drug.
Can a landlord evict a tenant for using Medical Marijuana?
Yes. Marijuana, whether recreational or for medical use is still illegal under the Unified Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which makes the drug illegal at the federal level. However, against this law various states, including Washington D.C. have legalized the use and possession of marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes. That being said, a landlord in Washington D.C. has the ability to file a claim against a tenant that uses marijuana and have them evicted should they refuse to stop using the substance. The Superior Court of Washington D.C. has established that although the use of medical marijuana is legal in its jurisdiction, such a defense does not hold up in court when other medical alternatives are available that do not violate the CSA.
Do tenants have any defenses against eviction for marijuana use?
Originally, any person using medication for a disability could claim a defense under the Americans with Disabilities Act, however, medical marijuana would not satisfy such a defense. Because medical marijuana is not legal under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act courts are inclined to strike down such a defense of necessity. Should a landlord desire for their tenants not to use medical or recreational marijuana on their property then tenants have no real defense against any enforcement by the landlord.
What role do Landlords play in limiting tenants’ use of medical marijuana?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, as a branch of the federal executive, requires landlords to include in their lease agreements that the use of marijuana on leased/rented property is illegal. However, the enforcement of such a clause is a totally different matter, particularly in states like California, Oregon, and Washington D.C. Additionally, under federal law landlords have no duty to provide reasonable accommodations under the ADA for medical marijuana use because of the drug’s illegality. Also, under HUD regulations, federal subsidized housing will also restrict the use of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.
If you need advice on Landlord-Tenant Disputes or CBD Law, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced business attorneys at EPGD Business Law, EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.
*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*