More and more states are approving legal recreational use of marijuana. However, that doesn’t mean every neighborhood wants it around. If it’s already legal in your state, or if it becomes legal in your state, there are some steps you should take to prepare your residents for it.
The HOA May Be Able to Prohibit It
Even if using and growing marijuana becomes legal in a state, that doesn’t mean HOAs have to allow their residents to smoke or grow marijuana. The change in law is designed to protect marijuana use from government regulation, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be privately regulated by a homeowner’s association. However, if the governing documents don’t already prohibit marijuana use, the board should think long and hard before adding it as it may upset many homeowners and be seen as the HOA trying to control the homeowners’ private lives.
Public Areas Should Be Smoke-Free
If the association does allow marijuana to be smoked in private homes in the neighborhood, that doesn’t mean residents can smoke anywhere they want. In fact, many states have laws regarding smoke-free areas, and they are usually common areas. For this reason, the HOA should prohibit smoking marijuana in any areas where the smoke can come into contact with someone who doesn’t want it, such as clubhouses, lobbies, hallways and public restrooms. They may even want to prohibit smoking on balconies where the smoke can reach other balconies.
Residents Who Grow Must Follow Laws
Growing marijuana is strictly regulated by the government, but they may not have time to monitor everyone. The HOA should ensure anyone growing marijuana is following the laws, which includes the number of plants, odor ventilation, light ventilation, moisture mitigation and light pollution. If the community has shared walls, such as condos, the odor issue could be more problematic than in detached units.
Creating New Rules Should Meet Certain Guidelines
Whether you completely prohibit marijuana use or you allow it, you’re sure to have new rules and regulations regarding its use. It’s important, however, not to make rules on the fly. Rules must follow a certain set of guidelines (including being reasonable), follow the law, comply with the governing documents related to the HOA, and be fair and clear.
Legal use and growth of marijuana is spreading, but that doesn’t mean your HOA has to allow it in the community. Even if it does, there are some major rules and regulations that must be made to ensure it is used and grown according to the law, and without harming other residents.