While marijuana laws have now been in effect for weeks in Virginia, some renters in the state are coming to terms that they may not be able to use the plant at home.
Since July 1, those who are 21 and older have been allowed to legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow four plants inside their home.
Housing managers are navigating conflicts between tenants and their neighbors however because the law does not prohibit property owners from keeping their own policies regarding marijuana in place.
Smoking bans are common among multi-family residential buildings.
Virginia Apartment Management Association CEO Patrick McCloud has said to WTVR, “There are many properties out there right now that have lease agreements where the residents agree not to smoke, and it is a smoke-free community.”
According to McCloud, the rules are in place because landlords not only have to protect the rights of tenants, but the living community as a whole.
McCloud argues that even though laws have changed, it doesn’t mean all renters can immediately start using or growing cannabis without checking their lease or talking to their property management.
“This largely will pop up in the area of other resident complaints and management having to navigate that issue,” McCloud said.
“Most agreements do still have clauses where any violation of federal law could be means for eviction,” said Kelly Cournoyer, an associate attorney with Toscano Law Group. “Whenever there’s a conflict between state and federal law, federal law is going to win.”
“I imagine some landlords may be more lenient than others, and that’s definitely an open discussion that tenants should have with their landlords,” Cournoyer added.