In light of the terrible fire that started in a marijuana grow room and destroyed an apartment building, displacing six people from their residence April 25, we here at Healthy Androscoggin would like to take a moment to educate residents and landlords on their rights when it comes to the personal use and cultivation of marijuana.

Since 1999, the state of Maine recognizes the right of a qualifying medical marijuana patient to grow up to six plants in their private domicile for personal medical purposes. On Jan. 30, 2017, marijuana became legal for personal recreational use, and a maximum of six plants may be grown in a private domicile. Its cannabis then may be consumed within that private domicile.

So, what are the rights of landlords who own and rent multi-unit housing?

First and foremost, if you are a landlord for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or accept vouchers and subsidies, marijuana is not allowed in any form for any use. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.

For all other landlords, you have the right to prohibit or allow marijuana use, possession or growth. The bottom line, you must be specific, in writing what is prohibited. This means using specific language in the lease or rental agreement. For example, not simply stating “smoking” but including other actions such as “vaping” or smoking devices such as e-cigarettes or Hookahs. If tenants are qualified medical marijuana card holders and you want to prohibit smoking of marijuana on the premises for any purpose, ALL smoking must be prohibited on premises and notice must be posted to that effect.

Other things to consider if you will be allowing personal use and growth in housing is to outline the state of Maine regulations in your lease and what you as a property owner prohibit. For example, safety regulations. Remind your tenant and have them sign an agreement that they will use safety precautions, such as covering plants with a fire retardant type tent, watching that the high powered lights are not near flammable material, watching electrical outlets and cords for wear and tear or overload and making sure the room designated for cultivation is ventilated and has a working smoke detector.

Tracey Crane is health promotion coordinator for tobacco and substance use prevention with Healthy Androscoggin.

Tracey Crane

If you are a multi-unit housing owner/landlord and would like assistance on updating language in a lease or rental agreement, or information on how to become smoke free, please contact us at: www. Healthyandroscoggin.org or call our office at 207-795-5990.


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