Must landlords allow tenants to use medical marijuana?

As more and more states allow medical marijuana use, landlords face the question of whether to allow tenants to smoke pot for medical reasons.

On the one hand, even if medical marijuana is legal under state law, it’s still technically illegal under federal law – even if the federal government is doing little or nothing to block the drug’s medical use.

On the other hand, landlords are generally required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled tenants, such as allowing grab bars in showers or service animals in an otherwise “no pets” building. Some tenants are arguing that allowing medical marijuana use is a type of reasonable accommodation.

However, this argument suffered a blow recently when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a memo stating that medical pot is not a reasonable accommodation of a disabled person.

The memo applies to landlords who accept “Section 8” subsidized housing. It says that these landlords cannot treat medical marijuana as a reasonable accommodation. However, it stopped short of saying that landlords have to evict such tenants – it left that decision to the individual landlords.

As more states move to decriminalize the drug, this question will likely only become more complicated.

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