It’s been a year since recreational marijuana was legalized on July 1, 2015 within the state of Oregon. This article reviews the laws, and what you can and can’t do in Oregon when it comes to pot and rentals.
Whether you are for or against the use of marijuana, this is something you will have to deal with as a property manager in the The Beaver State.
Legislatures have established some of the rules surrounding the use of marijuana, but a lot is left up to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).
“High”-level Marijuana Rules in Oregon:
- You can possess, use, and buy recreational marijuana if you are 21 and older. If you are younger, it’s illegal.
- Approved medical dispensaries may sell small amounts of marijuana to recreational users of legal age.
- You can possess up to 8 oz. of usable marijuana in your home and 1 oz. of usable marijuana outside the home.
- You can grow up to four plants per residence, out of public view.
- Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal.
- You can use recreational marijuana at home or on private property. Public use is illegal.
- You can’t take marijuana in or out of the state. That includes Washington.
- You can make edible products at home or receive them as a gift, and can use them only in private places.
Can a Landlord Prohibit Pot?
The big question on a lot of landlords’ minds is whether they can restrict the use of marijuana on or in their property. This hasn’t been officially decided yet and may never become law. As it stands right now, most marijuana rules will follow the same rules as restrictions on alcohol.
Since the use of drugs and alcohol, which are not prescribed by a doctor, are not a protected class, then the general opinion is that a landlord can restrict the use of marijuana in the lease as long as the resident knows about it and they sign the lease contract agreeing not to use marijuana while living on the property.
Obviously, even if you support the use of marijuana, then you will still want to maintain the no-smoking rules you have for inside your unit, as the smoke will do damage to your property, just like cigarette smoke would. If smoking (anything) is prohibited, tenants can still partake. There are other ways to ingest THC (one of many chemical compounds known as cannabinoids), so the lease wouldn’t be completely restricting one’s ability to use the substance.
Commonalities with Alcohol
A lot of the marijuana rules that have been established follow those of alcohol. For example:
- You must be at least 21 years of age to legally possess or consume marijuana,
- You cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana, and
- You are not allowed to use it in public.
Use in public spaces is something that managers of multifamily properties with common areas will need to be cognizant of. If there are hallways, playgrounds, or any other common areas of your complex, then it is illegal to use marijuana in those areas. If a resident decides to break this portion of the law, it could be grounds for eviction, assuming there is an illegal activity addendum or section of the lease that was signed.
Pretty much any area that is not inside a private unit or is in plain view of the public (balconies) would be considered using marijuana in public.
Restrictions on Amount
People will be allowed to possess up to 8 ounces of usable marijuana inside their home and up to 1 ounce outside their home. Usable marijuana is considered to be the dried flowers and leaves or finished product.
Sellers will be required to have a license issued by the OLCC to be a grower or dispensary that sells their recreational marijuana.
Safeguards for Growing Marijuana
In my opinion, the main thing that landlords need to monitor is a resident’s ability to grow up to four plants per residence out of public view. Since growing cannabis in public view is illegal, residents will most likely grow pot inside the unit if they don’t have a fenced-in backyard.
When marijuana is grown, there typically has to be alterations made to the property for ventilation and electricity, in addition to high risks of water, mold, and dirt damage to the surrounding area where it is being grown. Per most standard leases, most tenants are not allowed to make alterations to a property without the landlord’s permission.
Schedule Regular Inspections
If you’re a landlord or property manager, it’s important to schedule regular inspections of the property to ensure that your residents aren’t breaking any of the pot laws.
Within my company, we inspect once every six months. We work out a schedule that is best for tenants so that we can do a thorough inspection. When it comes to “grow rooms,” since the moisture level is typically higher than it is in other rooms, be sure to inspect any carpeting for mold growth. Look behind any reflective plastics or foil on the walls and ceilings for mold growth. And be sure to physically press on any sheetrock or wood surfaces to see whether they have become soft from moisture damage.