Guest Voices: The Impact Of Marijuana Legalization On The Rental Market


Across the United States, marijuana laws are being relaxed, and legal marijuana programs are being introduced. The ongoing legalization of marijuana has impacts on many areas of society, including the rental market, and it’s important for both landlords and tenants to be aware of the latest developments.

Impact of Marijuana Legalization on the Rental Market

Clearly, attitudes toward marijuana have changed a great deal in recent years. California has a great influence on the decision to legalize cannabis and led the way with its legalization, with many other states following the trend and others currently in the process of preparing their own plans to make marijuana and cannabis products more accessible.

When it comes to the rental property market in states where cannabis is legal, landlords have to make a choice about whether they wish to allow cannabis usage in their properties. Since marijuana is still an illegal Schedule 1 drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, many landlords are choosing to add addenda to their rental agreements to prohibit marijuana.

Tenants also need to keep in mind that landlords may not necessarily want them to smoke, grow, or use weed on their properties, due to the potential risks and problems that could ensue. So, when looking for rental properties, tenants who plan to use weed will need to consult with prospective landlords and search for cannabis-friendly rentals.

Demand for Cannabis-Friendly Rental Properties

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen since cannabis was legalized is an increased level of demand for cannabis-friendly rentals. In cities like Los Angeles, for example, where California recreational marijuana laws are very relaxed, a lot of renters are looking for properties and landlords that allow them to use marijuana without any complaints or limitations.

A cannabis-friendly rental property is one in which cannabis usage is permitted by the landlord. In this kind of property, there shouldn’t be any restrictions in the rental agreement regarding cannabis usage or growing your own plants, and tenants shouldn’t have to worry about landlords making any complaints regarding responsible cannabis usage within the home.

Factors Affecting the Demand for Cannabis-Friendly Rental Properties

  • Legalization – Obviously, legalization is the biggest factor driving the demand for more cannabis-friendly rentals; with weed being legal, lots of people want to be able to use it in their homes without fear of eviction.
  • Medical Reasons – Many people also make use of medical marijuana to help with various health conditions or symptoms, from chronic pain to PTSD, and they need a home where marijuana is allowed.
  • Cultivation – As regulations for cannabis cultivation in California and other states are eased, many people want to be able to grow their own cannabis plants at home and need a cannabis-friendly rental property to do so.

Pros and Cons of Cannabis-Friendly Rental Properties

So, should you make your rental property a cannabis-friendly space? Or would you be wiser to prohibit cannabis usage in the rental agreement? To decide, it’s important to weigh up the various pros and cons, and here are some of the main advantages and drawbacks of these properties:


  • A Wider Market – If you make your property cannabis-friendly, you may reach a wider market of potential tenants. This can lead to a faster rental.
  • More Money – Often, renters will be willing to pay a little more in order to obtain a cannabis-friendly rental, so you may be able to increase the rent.
  • Happier Renters – Having a cannabis-friendly rental can also result in happier tenants, who are less likely to complain and more likely to stay for the long term.


  • Neighbors – Neighbors may be impacted by the usage of marijuana in your rental property. This could lead to complaints and disputes.
  • Smell – The smell of marijuana tends to linger in a property. It can stick to walls, floors, and other surfaces, and the whole home will usually need a deep cleaning to get rid of the odor.
  • Crime – Growing or storing marijuana at a property could make it more of a target for theft or other forms of crime. This may result in your property being broken into.
  • Cultivation – Cultivation of marijuana can also have other drawbacks. It can potentially lead to mold and mildew in parts of the house, and could pose a fire hazard.

Challenges of Legalization on the Rental Market and Cannabis-Friendly Rental Properties

Clearly, the legalization of marijuana creates some complicated dilemmas for the rental market. Here are some of the main challenges that landlords, authorities, and other relevant organizations need to take into account.

Legal and Regulatory Issues

The legalization of cannabis in many states creates something of a gray area, as the states say that cannabis usage is allowed, but federal law still rules cannabis as an illegal drug. This can cause conflicts, and any landlords wanting to avoid cannabis use in their properties need to ensure that they add comprehensive addenda to their rental agreements.

Insurance Concerns

There’s also a matter of insurance for properties where cannabis usage is occurring. As mentioned above, growing cannabis in a property could make it a target for thieves or criminals, which could impact the cost of insurance and may even lead to some insurance companies refusing to provide certain policies and protections.

Impact on Surrounding Communities

Marijuana use in one property can affect the people who live around it. The smell of the drug can be noticed by neighbors, and some people may take issue with this, especially those with children or pets who could be harmed by second-hand smoke. This can lead to disputes and disagreements across entire communities.


As we can see, while the legalization of marijuana is seen as a cause for celebration by many, it also brings new problems and challenges that will need to be resolved, and the rental market is being impacted in a major way by these new laws. Many landlords are confused about the right course of action, and it’s likely that future rental agreements will need to make matters clear regarding what level of cannabis usage, if any, is allowed in each property.

Author Bio

Bertha Garrett worked as a budtender for 2 years. Now she handles content at the Canna Clinic.