I have received two inquiries over the past couple of weeks for guidance on a confounding issue: medical marijuana.  As I write this post, more than 20 states (and the District of Columbia) have some kind of legal medical marijuana or decriminalized marijuana policy on their respective books.  However, marijuana use is still unlawful under federal law generally and drug use (including marijuana) is specifically prohibited at affordable properties throughout the nation.  What should professional apartment management do when a resident submits a reasonable accommodation request that he or she be permitted to smoke marijuana at home pursuant to a request that has been medically verified and looks to be in compliance with state law?

HUD guidance (from 2011) and recent court decisions (involving both housing and employment law) make clear that management is not required to make a reasonable accommodation for a resident who seeks to use marijuana. The current state of the law is that as marijuana remains unlawful pursuant to the federal Controlled Substances Act, management is not required to accommodate use of what is still an illegal product, even though state law may approve of such use.

Hope that helps. To be sure, this is the type of issue for which you may want to speak with a lawyer like me to review your specific situation  or request from a resident.

Just A Thought.