Some Massachusetts landlords are trying to ban groceries, but can they?
Can your landlords evict you for smoking cannabis on their property? In Massachusetts, if you “smoke”, landlords have the right to evict you, but they don’t have permission to evacuate you because you own or consume it. But that doesn’t mean that some landlords won’t try.
Some landlords in MA are trying to ban all forms of cannabis use, whether they eat it or simply own it on the property. Some of these clauses include “immediate eviction” where some renters are unsure of where to smoke and where not.
Various problems come with legalization, and although these laws may previously have been overlooked due to the illegality of cannabis. However, if a substance is legal in a state, it can conflict with landlords’ property rights.
This brings tenants and landlords into conflict, which is not the ideal situation when talking about the place someone needs to feel safe and secure – their home.
But there is also an interesting debate: who has more power in this situation? After all, tenants live on land owned by landlords and live under “property rights” – the landlord has the right to ask a tenant to refrain from certain activities.
This doesn’t mean it’s right, and more importantly, if you don’t spy on your tenants it would be very difficult to enforce. However, some landlords believe it is their duty to prevent people from smoking weed on their property.
Misconceptions About Cannabis
One of the main reasons landlords don’t want cannabis in their homes is because the “smoke” can damage property, which means the asset will be devalued. However, this rarely happens. People don’t smoke nearly as much weed as tobacco in terms of frequency. While a cigarette is far more compulsory than a joint, cannabis smoke doesn’t impregnate as much as tobacco.
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That’s not to say it doesn’t smell at all. On the contrary, it can indeed be grateful.
Another reason landlords sell cannabis users’ goods is because they are “afraid of growing”. Under US law, if a “crime has been committed against property, property may be brought to justice.” In other words, the landlord can take their house to justice if you go broke over a pot.
Photo by Viktor Talashuk via Unsplash
You can also fear damage from inexperienced growers trying to harvest indoors without knowing how to properly regulate the humidity.
All of these are valid reasons, but at no point do they focus on the tenant’s freedom. Why pay a deposit when there is nothing you can do on the property?
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Sure, cannabis is still illegal nationwide, but we are at a time when more people are supporting cannabis and law enforcement is fading.
After all, landlords project their fears onto their tenants, assuming they are drug stores and will just mess everything up. That’s quite offensive to be honest. It’s a hasty generalization that plays on old stereotypes promoted by “the government”.
Are Cannabis Users Bad Tenants?
Let me ask you differently: are those who have the occasional glass of wine bad tenants? How about those who eat donuts? Not sure how to answer that? That’s because you can’t define a person’s moral compass by what they eat, drink, or smoke.
Of course, you can conclude that “tobacco smoke” can cause some odors to penetrate the structure of your home. Because of this, Massachusetts landlords have the right to evict someone if they violate the “no smoking policy” enforced by state law.
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In addition, the residents’ ban on the use of cannabis plays with the stereotype that cannabis users are “less than” their non-smoking counterparts. This is interesting because one would think that these landlords would also have a problem with alcohol, which is responsible for up to 40% of all violent crimes and has a strong influence on spouse abuse, child abuse, etc. One would think that landlords would rather avoid “child beating” on their property, but there was no movement or interest from the same landlords to ban alcohol consumption on their property.
Sure, this is an exaggerated view, but increasingly it is getting just as ridiculous to be against cannabis use as banning alcohol, and it is time we embraced cannabis on all fronts. This includes renters using cannabis, or at least creating a place to use cannabis.
Photo by Karla Alexander via Unsplash
This is a human rights problem that conflicts with the rights of private property. It’s certainly difficult because the libertarian in me says, “The landlords have the right to do what they want on their property,” and I don’t want the government to take that right away and force them to do anything.
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On the other hand, cannabis use does not indicate bad tenants. There is no inherent risk of damage to your property.
So I guess if you’re a landlord and you want to be an ass, it’s your right to be. But I hope the market is simply avoiding your property since you are still in the 1980s.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and was republished with permission.