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Rules for legal recreational marijuana: Landlord, tenant rights

Posted at 8:20 AM, Dec 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-06 09:15:00-05

Michigan is just hours away from being the first state in the Midwest where you can legally use recreational marijuana.

Voters approved Prop 1 on the November ballot that allows local cities to decide if they want to allow marijuana businesses.

Even though recreational pot will be legal, there are rules on what you can and can't do Thursday.

- If you're 21 and older, you can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana on you.
- Anything more than that up to 10 ounces must be kept in a locked container in your home. 
- You can have up to 12 plants in your home. 
- Know your employer's workplace policy when it comes to marijuana-use.

There's also another place where you should be careful to smoke.

"You should even be careful about doing it in your driveway because that is a publicly accessible area. It's really important that if you're consuming marijuana, you do it in the privacy of your own home. In your backyard you should be fine, but anywhere else you really should use a lot of caution," said Josh Hovey, a spokesperson for the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

You can't buy or sell recreational pot yet, because the state still has to decide how to flesh out its recreational marijuana business application process. That could take up to a year and up to three months after that for licenses to even be issued.

For now, what you can do is give 2.5 ounces or a pot plant as a gift.

Smoking in a public place is a civil infraction that carries a $100 fine.

Landlord, tenant rights

FOX 47's Carla Bayron talked with Mark Dotson, a professor at Cooley Law School in downtown Lansing who specializes in torts, business organization, criminal procedure, and contract issues. Dotson broke down what a landlord can ban on the property and what possible legal actions a tenant can take.

The landlord does have the right to limit or ban growing, consuming, selling, and displaying marijuana and marijuana accessories on the property, but by virtue of the legislation, Dotson believes a tenant does have the right to possess a limited amount of marijuana.

"I don't believe that they can limit the amount that you can have of usable marijuana which is 2.5 ounces. 2.5 ounces is what the law authorizes. Anything beyond 2.5 you start to run into legal issues with the law."

Dotson said a tenant can sue if that right of possession is limited beyond what the new law states.

The landlord can force a tenant to consume the pot somewhere else.

Vaping, edibles and oils can also be considered a form of consumption. Dotson said he thinks there will be lawsuits over the language in lease agreements in the future and the courts will have to give meaning to what consumption actually means.

Pot in the workplace

Just because Michigan voters said 'yes' to recreational marijuana, that doesn't mean employers will.

Because Michigan is an at-will state, an employer can terminate an employee for any cause or no-cause at all.

The only issues that can arise when it comes to termination are whether or not they violate any independent rights the law recognizes such as the right to be free of gender, age, disability discrimination and so on.

Employers have the right to enforce rules when it comes to being intoxicated on the job. They have the right to drug-test and they can take whatever position they want if you test positive for marijuana or any other drug.

"A condition of employment is that you not smoke. As offensive as that might be to folks generally, and as much as that might seem to reach into somebody's privacy rights, the employers rights trump those," Dotson said.

This rule also applies to medical marijuana users as well.

Dotson said generally when users claim infringement of privacy rights and drug restriction at the workplace, they aren't typically successful.