Ten years ago it seemed impossible but in 2013, Washington State voters approved initiative I-502 and approved the use of recreational marijuana. This is in addition to the legalization of medical marijuana that came several years ago. I-502 decriminalizes recreational marijuana possession and use in Washington State for those aged 21 and older. It also authorizes the sale of marijuana in Washington State by retailers licensed through the Liquor Control Board. A person may now legally possess one ounce of marijuana; 16 ounces of marijuana in solid form or 72 ounces in liquid form. Although the rules are different for Medical marijuana, home grown weed for recreational use or sale will remain illegal.
Can I Grow Marijuana in my Apartment?
Since it is still illegal to grow pot for recreational use it is not likely that many landlords would agree to let you grow pot on their property. Even if it were legal, a landlord has a perfect right to stop you from an activity that could damage the home. Note that a person who possesses a medical marijuana card is legally entitled to grow up to 15 pot plants but that a landlord could still put a stop to this just like pets can be prohibited.
If you are licensed by the state to grow, sell or use pot, your landlord would still be able to stop you from growing pot on the property. If you are caught, he would have legal grounds for eviction. It is standard for leases to prohibit tenants from engaging in illegal activity on the premises. Federal law and state law say that it is illegal to grow weed for recreational use.
On a separate but legitimate note, most leases also have a clause that requires tenants to keep the property in good repair and prohibits tenants from making big alterations to the space. Growing weed in a rental unit will likely violate both of these clauses. Grow rooms need a lot of ventilation due to the amount of heat and water needed to grow the plants. If the grower forgoes ventilation he will end up with a mold problem which could destroy the room and spread through the house. There could be other alterations needed as well which could also break the rules of the lease such as cutting holes in the walls, installing air conditioning units and hanging fans and ductwork.
If you are still considering growing pot in your rental unit you should read the fine print of your lease and know that you are taking the chance for eviction regardless of what the lease states.
The bottom line is that when you are a renter you are subject to the terms of the lease and to federal and state laws. Federally and in Washington State, it remains illegal to grow your own marijuana for recreational use and doing so inside a rental unit means breaking two laws.
If you need to know how our policies are written to protect landlords and tenants give us a call!