Can You Legally Maintain A Marijuana-Free Workplace Around Your Rentals?

If marijuana is legal in your state, can you maintain a marijuana-free workplace around your rental properties? The Grace Hill training tip of the week focuses on some of the confusing issues around marijuana and rental properties.

By Ellen Clark

Landlords and property managers face confusing legal issues when it comes to marijuana use and their rental properties, especially in states where marijuana is legal.

Tenants using marijuana in your rental properties is one issue.

What about the employees and people you hire to work on and around your rentals when marijuana may be legal in your state?

It is important to know that no state law requires employers, including landlords and property managers, to tolerate on-the-job marijuana use.

Property managers can maintain a marijuana-free workplace

Landlords and property managers can legally maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace and implement policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees.

Thirty states plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana either for recreational or medicinal uses. This conflict between federal and state law may create confusion in the workplace.

Marijuana possession is illegal under federal law. Pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act, it is classified as a Schedule I substance, which is defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

Marijuana use can take many forms

One thing to keep in mind is that the passage of new laws in some states means that it is much easier for people to buy marijuana and in many different forms.

Instead of smoking, some people are using oils and creams as well as eating marijuana-laced products such as candies and brownies (known as edibles).

This can cause problems as it can be difficult to know if someone is eating a regular brownie or a marijuana-laced brownie. And you may need to be more aware of changes in behavior and performance, which could be indicators of marijuana use.

Like other drugs, marijuana affects different people in different ways. This can depend on size, weight, and personality, as well as the amount consumed and their environment.

Behaviors landlords property managers should look for in the rental workplace

    • Short-term memory problems
    • Loss of concentration
    • Decreases in reaction time and alertness
    • Difficulty learning new skills

What does this mean for you as a landlord or property manager?

    • Review, maintain and enforce consistent and clear drug, alcohol and marijuana-free workplace policies. If you think a worker’s behavior might be an indication of substance abuse, follow your company’s policies and procedures for addressing the situation.
    • It’s important to remember, however, that not all performance problems in the workplace are a result of substance abuse. There could be other causes for changes in behavior. Try not to jump to conclusions.
    • If you believe you have a substance abuse problem, talk to your supervisor, and seek counseling and rehabilitation if necessary.
    • Pay particular attention to your company’s policies on drug testing. In most states, employers can still choose to test employees for marijuana use, even if the use occurred legally outside of the workplace.
    •  It remains an employer’s right to enforce a drug-free and marijuana-free workplace at their rental properties.

Most people want to feel healthy, safe, and productive at work.

Knowing your role in reducing substance abuse can improve the health and well-being of everyone in your workplace.

Read Ellen’s full blog post here.


Recent Grace Hill training tips you may have missed:

7 Ways To Stay Out Of Trouble When Checking Criminal History

5 Ways To Protect Applicants, Residents And Employees From Sexual Harassment

Do You Have A Smoke-Free Policy That Adequately Protects Residents?

How To Handle Suspicious Documentation For Assistance Animals

How A No Pet Policy Can Be Discriminatory

Property Management Cyberattack Risks Overlooked, Underestimated

Do You Know How To Respond To a Sexual Harassment Complaint?

Have You Reviewed Your Criminal Background Checks Policy Lately?

Multifamily Managers And Marijuana: Caught In A Pot Crossfire

Fair Housing Discrimination Against Someone You’ve Never Talked To?

About the author:

Ellen Clark is the Director of Assessment at Grace Hill.  Her work has spanned the entire learner lifecycle, from elementary school through professional education. She spent over 10 years working with K12 Inc.’s network of online charter schools – measuring learning, developing learning improvement plans using evidence-based strategies, and conducting learning studies. Later, at Kaplan Inc., she worked in the vocational education and job training divisions, improving online, blended and face-to-face training programs, and working directly with business leadership and trainers to improve learner outcomes and job performance. Ellen lives and works in Maryland, where she was born and raised.

About Grace Hill

For nearly two decades, Grace Hill has been developing best-in-class online training courseware and administration solely for the Property Management Industry, designed to help people, teams and companies improve performance and reduce risk.