Medical Marijuana

Do tenants have a right to smoke Marijuana in or around your rental property

Landlord by Design – Complete Guide to Residential Tenancy 

Do tenants have a right to smoke Marijuana in or around your rental property

We are entering into an interesting time in the world.  The attitude towards the legalization of Marijuana has changed significantly.

More and more states, provines and countries are legalizing, decriminalizing or atleast allowing the use of prescription medical Marijuana.

I have been getting asked a lot recently by both Landlords and tenants, if they are allowed to smoke medical marijuana in or around there rented space.

I decided to see where our local residential tenancy board stood on the issue.  This only applies to Nova Scotia Canada, this is not a legal opinion.  Make sure to check your own local laws that relate to the use of medical or marijuana in general.

There now that I have provided my disclaimer, the following is what I asked and the response from the tenancy board.

How are you?

I have a question about tenants smoking medical Marijuana.

It appears to be a gray area topic, however, it is a question that is being asked a lot lately.

Since smoking is not a protected right, I would think it fits in the smoking category and would be a building rule dependant issue.

The challenge is that it could be considered interference not allowing a person to take a prescribed medication.

It might be a stretch but #1 in Statutory Conditions does read:

The landlord shall keep the premises in a good state of repair and fit for habitation during the tenancy and shall comply with any statutory enactment or law respecting standards of health, safety or housing.

Here is my question:

Do landlords have to allow tenants to smoke prescribed medical Marijuana?

I really appreciate your help,

Mike

Here is what they responded with:

We have reviewed your email of January 27, 2017 regarding the use of marijuana in rental units. The Residential Tenancies Act is not criminal legislation and so does not specifically address the use of marijuana or any other mood-altering substance.

If a landlord has concerns about such use, they may contact local law enforcement or-in the case of marijuana-institute or enforce a ‘No Smoking” policy in their properties. If such a policy does not currently exist, enacting one must be in accordance with Section 9A of the Residential Tenancies Act:

(1) A copy of reasonable rules established by a landlord that apply to the residential premises shall be given to a tenant prior to executing a lease.
(2) Rules may be changed or repealed upon four months’ notice to the tenant prior to the anniversary date in any year.
(3) A rule is reasonable if
(a) it is intended to
(i) promote a fair distribution of services and facilities to the occupants of the residential premises,
(ii) promote the safety, comfort or welfare of persons working or residing in the residential premises, or
(iii) protect the landlord’s property from abuse;
(b) it is reasonably related to the purpose for which it is intended;
(c) it applies to all tenants in a fair manner; and
(d) it is clearly expressed so as to inform the tenant of what the tenant must or must not do to comply with the rule.

Provided the original leases permit smoking, if the landlord delivers written notice of a rule change at least four months prior to each tenant’s individual anniversary date, then that change will take effect on their respective anniversary dates.

In a no-smoking building, if a tenant uses marijuana for authorized medical reasons, they may not smoke it but can consider other methods of ingestion.

The Residential Tenancies Act and its processes can be complex. As follow-up questions are likely, we cannot thoroughly respond to Residential Tenancies questions via email.

Please contact Residential Tenancies directly by calling (902) 424-5200 or 1-800-670-4357 to discuss questions in detail.

We are available to assist you Mondays through Fridays, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Click here to access Nova Scotia Residential Tenancy 

What is interesting about the issue, is that it crosses over several areas of enforcement departments:

Law enforcement

Residential tenancy

Human rights

Medical and Health services

If I had to cut the chase and summarize, basically smoking is smoking, no matter what the substance is.

I hope this article helps clear up some of the gray area around this issue.

Mike

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