Attorney Derek Reed Explains How NJ Landlords Can Still Ban Smoking Marijuana

Attorney Derek Reed was recently interviewed by the Asbury Park Press for its article titled, Marijuana is legal in NJ, but your landlord can stop you from smoking weed at home. He discusses the rights landlords have in order to enforce smoking bans on their property.

In February 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy approved the recreational use of marijuana – in all forms – for adults who are at least 21 years old in New Jersey. While smoking on private property is allowed, property owners of apartment complexes can prohibit “smoking, vaping or aerosolizing” cannabis on their premises, including individual units.

In addition, condominium associations can also institute bans on smoking cannabis – so long as the ban has more than 50-percent approval from all unit owners.

Attorney Reed said that your lease most likely already has a provision regarding smoking on the property.

In the Asbury Park Press article, he explained:

“Those no-smoking provisions expand upon not only cigarettes or cigars but anything that's lit, burned and inhaled. So even though marijuana is now legal at certain levels and people are free to smoke it, a housing provider could still prohibit smoking inside a living space or a common area, if it's specified in the lease.”

Attorney Reed also said that new residents in multifamily units have requested no-smoking bans in recent years. Whether it’s the lingering smell of smoke seeping through shared walls or fire hazards, many residents may welcome such a ban.

“When you have a lot of people living in a very small space, you have to be sensitive to the disruption of rights and comforts of all the residents,” Reed explained. “The landlord has an obligation to maintain the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the property. And smoking has become, over the years, one of those things that residents have found really disrupts their rights and comforts.”

When it comes to properties funded by the federal Public Housing Authority, tenants could be evicted for possession a controlled substance like marijuana since it is still a Schedule I narcotic under federal law.

However, renters could still consume cannabis in the form of edibles, rather than smoking, vaping, or aerosolizing pot. Therefore, bypassing the smoking ban.

For more information about landlord/tenant laws and condominium law, contact Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, Plaza & Reed P.C., Attorneys at Law today at (973) 828-0203. Serving clients in New Jersey and New York since 1955.