Marijuana is now legal in California, but it’s still considered an illegal drug on the federal level, and this is throwing some rental property owners into turmoil.
Let’s avoid some confusion right away: while smoking cannabis is legally permitted in Irvine and throughout California, it doesn’t have to be permitted in your rental property. If your property is a non-smoking home, you aren’t required to allow your tenants to smoke marijuana – even if it’s prescribed for medical reasons.
Having a strong lease agreement is important. Understanding the scope of the law is also important. If you’re uncertain about how to handle this, reach out to a local Irvine property management company that can help.
Marijuana Remains Illegal Under Federal Law
As of mid-2021, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) prohibits the possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana. There is not even a defense available to individuals who have a medical necessity for marijuana.
In 2016, recreational marijuana was declared legal in California. However, there are still restrictions on where, how, and when it can be used. These state laws seem to change every year. It’s important to keep up and to remember that even while the California laws grow more permissive, it’s still a federal offense.
Marijuana and Your Irvine Rental Property
There are many ways for medicinal marijuana to be consumed. Some people take it in an edible form and others use oils. Many users also vape or smoke it, and that’s where you have the most freedom in placing restrictions on how marijuana is used in your rental home.
You are permitted to keep your rental properties smoke-free. This means that tenants and their guests are not allowed to smoke anything in your house or at your property. The smoking restriction would include cigarettes and marijuana. There’s no legal protection that allows for smoking or vaping marijuana when you prohibit smoking at your property.
Smoking Policies and Your Lease Agreement
The best way to protect yourself and your property is by including a non-smoking policy in your lease agreement.
Everything that happens at your rental property starts with your lease agreement. You need a strong lease with specific expectations and responsibilities for your tenants. Don’t be vague; you don’t want to simply include a “no-smoking” phrase. Be specific about what isn’t allowed. List everything from tobacco to marijuana to vaping products.
Communicate with Your Irvine Residents about Marijuana and Smoking
Have a conversation with all of your new residents before they move into the property. While most of your lease signing and communication may be electronic, you want to make sure that you’re clearly establishing the rules of living in your property. Explain that you are renting that property to the residents with the expectation that there will be no smoking of any substance.
Set clear standards and consistent boundaries. When you have done this in writing and in person, there is no excuse for your residents to violate the lease agreement or to smoke marijuana in the property, even if it’s medicinal. They cannot claim they didn’t know it wasn’t allowed. If you discover something that violates your no smoking policy, address it immediately.
If you’re wondering how the new and existing laws pertain to your specific investment property, contact us at HCM Property Management. We’d be happy to help you manage when good tenants turn bad.