CATHERINE M. MATTHEWS (R), GRI
Broker-In Charge, Callahan Realty, Ltd.
Past President, Oahu Chapter National Association of Residential Property Managers
Q. Now that there are new laws regarding medical marijuana in Hawaii, what are the landlord’s obligations and liabilities if a tenant has a medical marijuana license and wishes to grow his or her own plants? Does the landlord have any rights? Also what are the consequences for the tenant and the landlord in regards to the Federal property seizure law?
A. With a medical marijuana license a person is entitled to grow up to seven plants and have no more than four ounces of usable marijuana between the patient and caregiver. The person must have indicated their intent to grow their own marijuana on their application and listed the address where the medical marijuana will be grown on their application or file a notification of change of address if they are already registered to grow the medical marijuana. The address must be on their Medical Marijuana 329 Registration Card and each plant must be tagged at the base with the 329 Card number and expiration date. There are clear and concise guidelines for the tags which are provided by the Department of Health. If the plants are not properly tagged they are subject to removal by law enforcement.
If you are renting to a person who has followed all of the guidelines, then yes, as I understand the law… you have to allow them to grow the marijuana on your property. The person has received a medical marijuana license because they have a disability and, as a landlord, you are required to make reasonable accommodation for a disabled person. If they plant in your yard and remove grass or other vegetation, you may require them to return the property to its original condition when they vacate.
As far as the Federal property seizure law goes, the State and Federal laws do conflict. I would hesitate to deny a tenant with a disability following our State law based on the stance that it is in conflict with Federal law. I could see that ending with a court case and, personally, I would not want to be the person to test this in court. I strongly suggest you seek your own advice from a licensed attorney.