When it comes to marijuana and tenants, the federal law is clear, landlords are not required to accommodate tenants for marijuana use, even for medical use. Medical marijuana is legal in Washington, but that does not mean landlords need to allow it as it is still illegal under federal law. As a landlord, it is important to work with tenants for medical reasons and special situations. It is wise to consider engaging in a reasonable accommodation request for marijuana use.

Medical Use of Marijuana

The federal law makes it easier on landlord to clearly define what is prohibited. As marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance, landlords do not have to allow its use for tenants. It is important to have a clear lease agreement to state this information to protect landlords from issues with tenants.

Fair Housing Act and Marijuana Use

If a resident wants to use marijuana for a medical condition, they may claim their condition does fall under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) where it is illegal for landlords to refuse a reasonable accommodation in the dwelling for the person to live there. However, the accommodation does need to take into consideration the undue hardship it can cause the landlords as well as other tenants. Marijuana use can lead to poor air quality for other tenants, and it can cause odor within the dwelling, that may require extensive cleaning when a tenant vacates the property. 

DEA Gudelines for Landlord

Thankfully for property owners, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does classify marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, which means no medical use is recognized. It is important to note as marijuana use has started to increase in the United States, the law could change in the future. Evolving areas of the law can be precarious for landlords, so it’s best to consult a property management company to assist in crafting a clear lease agreement.

Keyrenter Property Management in Tacoma provides clear contracts when it comes to marijuana and reasonable accommodation requests. If you have a tenant concern related to cannabis use, contact our office for assistance.