Smoking ban on properties applies to medical weed
Even after obtaining their license for medical marijuana, students still could see restrictions on their smoking — at home.
The Property Management Association of Mid-Michigan and the Ingham County Health Department held discussions last week to explore options for tenants and landlords regarding medical marijuana.
A smoke-free policy in rental properties is not discriminatory, even when it includes medical marijuana smoke, because it also affects other people’s health, said Marcus Cheatham, a public information officer with the Ingham County Health Department.
“It’s interesting because as fewer and fewer adults smoke, complaints about secondhand smoke have increased,” Cheatham said. “(Landowners) originally responded with, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it, people have the right,’ but that’s actually not true because smoking affects other people’s rights.”
Those with a medical marijuana license still can use the drug in a smoke-free manner, such as baking it into brownies, Cheatham said.
Smoke-free apartments prohibit medical marijuana and cigarette smoke, he said.
“(Landowners are) helping these people to get rid of the No. 1 killer, which is smoking,” Cheatham said. “It becomes inconvenient to smoke, so you’re seeing people (say), ‘Well, I didn’t like paying $5 a carton for cigarettes anyways, and now it’s a hassle, so I’m just going to bag it.’”
Few East Lansing apartments and rental houses have joined the smoke-free trend, but those that have say it was for financial reasons.
In addition to making cleanup cheaper, renters usually appreciate a smoke-free house, said property owner Mark Frantz, who owns a house on Cornell Avenue.
“It’s dirty,” Frantz said. “It’s hard to clean up. It stinks. It’s harder to re-rent.”
Although smoke-free rules have been in place for 10 years, renters have never asked about medical marijuana, said Jennifer Holzwarth, a manager at Unique Real Estate Properties.
The business owns eight rental houses, including one on Dorothy Lane in East Lansing.
“That hasn’t become an issue, but I’m sure it will be,” Holzwarth said.
Holzwarth said she was unsure if prohibiting medical marijuana was legal, and if a potential renter wanted to smoke in the house, she would have to check with her lawyer.
Frantz said marijuana has never come up at his property either.
But creating non-smoking apartments is a growing trend in the past five years, Cheatham said, and as East Lansing discusses medical marijuana ordinances in the city, the issue could become more relevant.
“Under state law, people who have a chronic condition (have a right to medical marijuana),” Cheatham said. “They don’t have a right to make the other people in their building smoke their pot.”