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Colorado’s New Marijuana Amendment

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On November 6, 2012 Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 which does two things that are significant to residential landlords and property managers. The new state law allows anyone over the age of 21 years to:

1. Possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana; and

2. Grow up to six marijuana plants (although no more than three may be mature, flowering plants).

The Colorado state government will be drafting detailed laws over the next year to implement other aspects of the Amendment including regulation and taxation of marijuana sales, but the above provisions will not be substantially modified. Driving under the influence of marijuana will be illegal as will unlicensed sales.

Where does this leave landlords and property managers?

Notwithstanding the new Colorado law, possession and use of marijuana shall remain illegal under federal law. A written provision in a lease prohibiting criminal activity at the residential rental premises shall, therefore, continue to make marijuana possession a lease violation and can form a basis for eviction. A non-smoking community/residence will prohibit the smoking of marijuana in the unit. Marijuana smoke and odor emanating from a unit into building common areas or an adjacent unit may disturb other residents. A written provision in a lease prohibiting a resident from disturbing, harassing, annoying neighbors or creating a nuisance shall, therefore, be a violation of the lease. Some marijuana growing is done in water (hydroponic cultivation). A written provision in a lease prohibiting a resident from hydroponic cultivation, or any cultivation for that matter if you so choose, of any marijuana plants (similar to a prohibition of waterbeds) can, therefore, make growing marijuana plants a lease violation. Be certain to review your lease for these provisions or revise accordingly.  If you have any questions as to these suggested provisions or the content of your lease, do not hesitate to contact us.  KlassLawGroup will not charge for a review of your lease or consultation regarding this issue.

How you may wish to address concerns about your residents’ activities with regard to the use or cultivation of marijuana may depend upon your personal feelings about the subject. However, there are sound business reasons for restricting what your residents can do in relation to marijuana to protect your rental property from damage due to smoke or water and to limit conflict among your residents or the possibility of criminal activity.

KlassLawGroup is supplying to our clients, or anyone else who may wish to use them, two different forms of Marijuana Addendum at no charge. You may use either of these addenda to restrict your residents’ activity. The first addendum sets a very strict policy and grants to you the remedy of serving an immediate Notice to Quit for Substantial Violation (we refer to this addendum as the “Zero Tolerance”). When using the Zero Tolerance Addendum your resident will have no right to bring themselves into compliance or “cure” this restricted behavior. With this addendum you retain the right to evict the resident for a single occurrence. The second addendum is less strict and permits you to treat marijuana use, possession or cultivation as a lease violation (we refer to this addendum as the “Single Right to Cure”). With this addendum your resident will have a right to bring themselves into compliance and “cure” the violation. If there is a second violation, then a Notice to Quit for Repeat Violation may be issued at which time the resident would no longer have a right to cure and must vacate the unit.

To review or obtain a copy of either Addendum please click here

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