Yes, You Can Evict a Tenant for Smoking Marijuana, Even If It Is for Medical Reasons
Marijuana laws are changing so fast that hardly almost anyone, with the possible exception of experts on cannabis policy, can keep up. While many states have developed medical cannabis programs with detailed rules about how people may use cannabis within the limits of the law, while California and Colorado treat it similarly to alcohol in that adults are free to buy and consume it as long as they do so responsibly, Alabama’s medical marijuana program remains a twinkle in the eyes of lawmakers. The short answer is that marijuana is almost always illegal in Alabama. This means that, as a landlord, you are on firm footing to terminate a tenant’s lease if they smoke marijuana on the property that they rent from you. To make sure you are conducting the eviction process properly, you should contact an Alabama eviction lawyer before you move to evict weed-smoking tenants.
You Can Evict a Tenant for Breaking the Law
Almost all marijuana use in Alabama is illegal; the legislature is currently conducting studies about the effectiveness of cannabis to treat certain medical conditions, and the results of these studies could lead to the establishment of a medical marijuana program like the ones found in other states. As of 2019, patients with qualifying medical conditions can only use CBD products or cannabis products with very low THC content; nothing that fits the conventional definition of “marijuana” is legal in Alabama. Recent bills propose to protect anyone from being arrested for cannabis possession if that person is enrolled in a state-sponsored medical cannabis clinical trial.
If a tenant breaks the law, whether by smoking marijuana or doing anything else illegal, you as a landlord have the right to terminate the lease and begin the process to evict the tenant. You should state clearly in the lease agreement that any illegal activity on the tenant’s part is grounds for termination of the lease.
Decriminalizing Cannabis Does Not Mean That Landlords Must Allow It on Their Property
Landlords have great flexibility in deciding what is allowed in rental units they own; just because something is illegal does not mean you must allow it. Cigarette smoking and keeping dogs and cats as pets are legal, but many landlords prohibit these activities in their buildings. As long as your policies are not discriminatory, such as prohibiting a person with disabilities from keeping a service animal, they are legally enforceable. Even if Alabama institutes a medical marijuana program, and even if it eventually decriminalizes possession of small amounts of cannabis in general, you can still specify in the terms of your lease that you do not allow marijuana on your property and that tenants who smoke marijuana on the premises will have their leases terminated.
Let Us Help You Today
If tenants break the law or violate the terms of the lease, you can evict them, but you must do it the right way. Contact the Birmingham eviction attorneys at Cloud Willis & Ellis for a consultation about how to evict tenants.