How Laws Are Evolving To Include Cannabis

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Recreational marijuana isn’t the only industry taking off — law firms are being forced to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape while legislatures around the country are being forced to implement new laws that are fair to everyone. These realities lead to a lot of new questions surrounding related substances like CBD oil, which isn’t quite regulated anywhere yet. Here are a couple that are in the process of being answered.

Recently, a couple was evicted from their Massachusetts apartment for smoking medical marijuana outdoors on their balcony. They quickly sought the advice of a drug crimes attorney to ask whether or not the landlord can legally evict them for using the substance legally (and outdoors). It was a big deal for them because they had lived there for about 26 years!

Francine Weinandy, one of the evicted, said, “No one deserves to have their home taken away from them because of pot.”

Evan Loeffler of Loeffler Law Group said, “This issue comes up quite regularly. I’ve represented a lot of residential landlords writing leases or dealing with tenants who either demand, insist, or deny the use of marijuana.” 

The argument is based on whether or not the lease allows them to smoke — whether the product is tobacco or marijuana should not matter. The landlord can legally evict someone for smoking indoors if the stipulation is built into the lease agreement. Normally, a lease might say you have to be a certain number of feet away from the building, for example. Landlords write these rules because smoke can result in expensive damage to a property. And that’s to say nothing of the smell.

Loeffler said, “[Smoke] gets in everything — it gets in the walls, ceiling, it gets in the drapes, carpets,” etc. 

Loeffler practices landlord-tenant law, but he has also rented out property himself. He says that the distinction between smoking and vaping is not often made in lease agreements, and that evicted residents should consult state laws to see whether or not the courts will likely side with them or the landlord in such cases.

The 2016 Florida amendment that mostly legalized medical marijuana in the state has also resulted in a number of quickly changing laws. Many of the new laws being implemented surround the idea of vertical integration, which forces companies who acquire medical marijuana licenses to conduct all facets of business instead of relying on outside businesses to split up the work. 

A licensed dealer in Florida must grow, process, and distribute the product themselves instead of outsourcing those tasks to anyone else. According to the legislation, to do otherwise might let the medical marijuana fall into the hands of those who wish to use it recreationally, which is still illegal. Many businesses have lost licenses over this issue.