What Missouri marijuana card holders need to know if they rent their home.
As of the beginning of June 2021, more than 100 thousand Missouri residents have gotten their marijuana cards. That number is likely to keep climbing, considering how easy it is to qualify for medical marijuana in Missouri.
If the demographics of marijuana cardholders in the state resembles that of the overall population, that means that about 33 thousand people who use medical marijuana in Missouri rent their homes.
So in this post, we are going to address the big question that may be on every tenant’s mind when they consider getting approved for medical marijuana: Can you get kicked out for using medical marijuana when you rent your home?
As with almost any subject related to medical marijuana laws in Missouri or any other state, the answer is not straightforward. In this article, we are going to look at what makes the issue such a conundrum, and what you can do to minimize the potential for eviction as you take advantage of the benefits of medical marijuana.
Important Note: While we have made every effort to ensure that the following statements are true and correct, the information herein is not intended to be legal advice or to replace consultation with an attorney. If you are concerned that your rights as a tenant have been violated, then you should seek professional legal advice. Click here to see a list of attorneys who specialize in marijuana law in Missouri.
Doesn’t the Fair Housing Act Protect Using Medical Marijuana for a Disability?
The Fair Housing Act, much like the Americans with Disabilities Act, offers Federal protection from discrimination and requires businesses (in this case, landlords) to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.
The catch with this is that they are Federal laws, and reasonable accommodations are only required for treatment plans or adjustments that are recognized as legal by the Federal Government. As of June 2021, the DEA still considers marijuana a Schedule I controlled substance, so it is not recognized as being protected
The MORE Act was passed in the US House of Representatives at the end of 2020; and this piece of legislation would declassify marijuana, possibly changing the current status of protection under the Fair Housing Act. However, the Senate has not yet picked up the bill, and President Biden objects to marijuana legalization. This puts in question the possibility of marijuana being taken off the Schedule I list anytime soon.
But as a Tenant, You Have the Right to Privacy, Right?
You do have a right to privacy as a tenant, and this means that you do not have to disclose your status as a medical marijuana patient to your landlord or property manager. They also cannot just come in and start searching through your stuff.
However, vaping or smoking marijuana can create a strong odor that permeates walls and floors—which kind of violates the privacy of your neighbors if you live in a multi-unit building. They could complain to your landlord, which may lead to adverse action being taken.
Additionally, your landlord is allowed to enforce a no smoking and drug-free policy, and they can start eviction proceedings if you are committing a Federal crime on their property.
Section 8 and Public Housing Concerns With Medical Marijuana
This is another confusing situation: According to a 2011 statement released by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, any Section 8 or public housing applicant known to be using (Federally) illegal drugs must be denied assistance.
However, property owners and managers may not evict current residents who use medical marijuana without making significant attempts to remedy the situation.
As far as we can tell, this position has not changed.
What Missouri Tenants Can Do to Avoid Eviction for Using Medical Marijuana
If you’re reading this in your apartment and thinking about flushing all your cannabis products down the toilet, take a deep breath and keep reading. You don’t have to disclose your medical marijuana use to anyone, and there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of eviction.
While we can't guarantee that the person or entity that owns the property where you live won't take adverse action, these steps may help you avoid them even knowing.
Vet Your Apartment/Rental Choice Carefully
When looking for a place to rent, you can simply make a phone call and talk to your prospective landlord or property manager. Knowing their position on medical marijuana use ahead of time will help you make a decision, and it will prevent the feeling that you made a mistake.
This author had a delightful conversation with a property manager at St. Louis Luxury Apartments, who said that they are grappling with policy surrounding such a grey area. He noted that all their apartments have a no smoking policy, but that tenants were welcome to smoke and vape on balconies as long as it doesn’t bother the neighbors.
Additionally, he stated that they had nothing at all against tenants who use edibles and other more discreet cannabis products, as long as they have a valid marijuana card.
Use Products That are Discreet
You don’t have to turn your apartment into a hotbox in order to get the amazing benefits of medical marijuana. At Missouri dispensaries, you can find all sorts of cannabis products that produce minimal or no odor.
Check out this guide to staying discreet while using medical marijuana for advice on how to prevent alerting your neighbors’ noses to your wellness choices.
Don’t Grow Your Own Marijauna
Medical marijuana cardholders can grow their own marijuana plants when they are approved for an additional cultivation ID. While this may sound like a great idea, it might not be if you rent. The smell of cannabis plants can be quite strong, and your neighbors may complain.
If you do decide to grow plants in your apartment, there are some precautions you should take, and you can start your research by checking out our recent article, “Where Can You Grow Marijuana Plants if You Have a Missouri Marijuana Card?”.
Having a Missouri Marijuana Card is Better Than Not Having One
If you are using marijuana without a valid marijuana card in your apartment or other type of rented home, you are using it illegally. Therefore, there is a much smaller chance that your landlord or property manager will turn the other cheek.
Additionally, the only legal, safe access to marijuana is through shopping at a Missouri dispensary. There, you can get edibles, tinctures, vape cartridges, and even beverages that produce minimal or no odor.
When you have a marijuana card, you can demonstrate that you are responsibly and legally using a product to manage the symptoms of your condition. Give our patient support representatives a call, or schedule a marijuana evaluation today, to make sure your marijuana use is compliant with Missouri laws.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out Missouri Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Missouri.