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You knew it was coming. We couldn't let April 20 pass without at least a few posts about marijuana and the law. And this time, we're going to discuss whether you have a legal right to grow weed in a rental unit.
Unfortunately for pot aficionados and medical marijuana patients, the answer isn't pleasant. Even if you are licensed by the state to grow, sell or use pot, chances are your landlord can prohibit you from growing on the property. And if you still choose to do it, he can kick you out.
Federal law is the main culprit here. It's standard for leases to prohibit tenants from engaging in illegal activity on the premises. Even if you can grow weed in a rental unit under state law, you can't under federal law. Marijuana is still an illegal substance, and landlords aren't obligated to make room for current lawbreakers.
This arguably applies to medical marijuana patients as well.
Most leases also have a clause that requires tenants to keep the property in good repair. Tenants are also generally not allowed to make alterations to the property, such as painting the walls or tearing out light fixtures.
Growing weed in a rental unit will likely violate both of these clauses. Because of the heat and water involved, grow rooms require a lot of ventilation. Without proper ventilation, the room will succumb to mold, which may destroy the room. You may also need to cut holes in the walls, install air conditioning units and hang fans and ductwork.
So if you want to grow weed in a rental unit, you should probably look very closely at your lease. Also consider what your landlord might do if he finds out. Chances are he'll try to evict you no matter what.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.