Potential Risks of Allowing Your Tenants to Use Marijuana Even If it is Now Legal in MA.


Besides the things we’ve discussed in our previous post, there are a several other factors you need to consider before allowing your building to become pot-friendly.

Your mortgage: A common clause in loan documents may require you to comply with both state and federal laws at all times. Allowing marijuana use in your property may put you in breach of the loan documents.

Subsidized housing: If you accept money from government subsidies such as historic and low-income housing tax credits, or Section 8 tenants, you are most likely required to comply with both state and federal laws as a condition of those subsidies. Much like your mortgage documents, the use of marijuana on your property could result in an allegation of civil or criminal fraud. (Keep in mind that the property owner is not the only person who can be held liable for the breach of state or federal laws. That risk extends to property managers and other agents acting on the owners’ behalf.)

Insurance: Insurance companies generally do not cover damage caused by illegal activities. After Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, there was a spike in apartment fires caused by tenants trying to condense marijuana into a concentrated form using butane.

Health Hazards: Secondhand marijuana smoke could cause adverse health conditions among the property’s other residents. According to drugeabuse.gov, “This research has not yet been conducted with human subjects, but the toxins and tar levels known to be present in marijuana smoke (see “What are marijuana’s effects on lung health?”) raise concerns about exposure among vulnerable populations, such as children and people with asthma.”