Marijuana and the Impact on Community Associations

marijuana-prohibition-sign-shutterstockAs public perception of marijuana changes and more states enact different forms of legalization, HOAs are struggling with how to adjust to this new reality. While both medicinal and recreational use of the drug is becoming broadly accepted, some are still very strongly against it, especially among older populations. And, in condos and other shared buildings, the smoke can be an irritant that causes friction between neighbors. How should communities deal with the issue of marijuana?             

The Marijuana Paradox

Because marijuana laws are both new and controversial, communities are finding it difficult to know how to tread when it comes to them. While firm answers from the courts on the legality of community anti-marijuana bans may take years to come, especially in states where legalization has passed, HOAs do not have the luxury of waiting. HOAs have to take up the issue now.

Some communities are passing rules banning the use of recreational or medical marijuana in spite of their state’s laws. Aside from facing legal challenges, in some cases, this has caused conflict with outraged residents. The tension has come to the point that some anti-marijuana HOAs have had to rescind these bans in the face of community protest.

While many lawyers are advising HOAs that marijuana bans will be upheld, the wider acceptance of marijuana means that even if they are allowed to continue, they will possibly be at odds with the beliefs of the majority of the community. In order to mitigate the possible conflicts this can lead to, HOAs should consider solutions and compromises that can appease both sides.

Marijuana in Your HOA

Much like smoking tobacco, marijuana smoke that reaches bothersome levels can be managed under nuisance rules. If large amounts of marijuana smoke or smells coming from a residence are bothering the neighbors, and the issue cannot be settled between the residents, this is a possible action to take. Also, like smoking, rules or agreements between neighbors can be created, setting designated areas for marijuana use that will keep the smoke out of most locations where it could bother non-smokers.

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