Legal Marijuana and Homeowners Associations

Marijuana in the HOA

As of December 15, marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. While only a handful of states have voted for legalization, experts predict that most if not all of the other states will eventually legalize.

Which puts homeowners associations in an interesting dilemma. Should legal marijuana be allowed in condos?

On the one hand, marijuana now falls into the same category as cigarettes and alcohol. It’s legal to have them and use them as you see fit within your own home, as long as you’re of legal age. You can’t tell homeowners whether or not they can have a bottle of rum or six cases of beer.

But some associations do regulate smoking. With the rise of smoke-free living, does that cover marijuana use? Will homeowners be required to use a designated smoking area outside the building if they want to smoke pot?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, you can smoke marijuana outside, but according to Massachusetts law, you’re only allowed to have one ounce on your person in public. Any more than that is illegal, except within your home, where you can have more.

So there are a lot of questions to be answered and multiple considerations when it comes to governing marijuana use within condos. For associations in Massachusetts, decisions need to be made quickly and added to the condo docs before marijuana is sold at retail, which begins in 2018. For other states, it’s not a bad idea to start drafting some rules now.

Before we know it, marijuana could be legal everywhere.

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