Georgia Legislature to Consider Medical Marijuana in Apartments
ATLANTA – A bill that would establish both protections and prohibitions for rental property owners related to residents who use medical marijuana has been prefiled in the Georgia Senate.
The bill, filed as SB 7, would make Georgia the most recent state to remove state-level criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana. According to the bill, a patient must receive a prescription for use from a qualified medical practitioner and apply with the state for use. The bill also defines what qualifies as a “debilitating medical condition.” Once approved, the patient will then be allowed to possess and use defined quantities. Prescriptions can only be filled by licensed dispensaries. In addition, the bill sets a timetable for the adoption of regulations for both a patient registry and dispensaries.
Of interest to the rental housing industry are:
- A property owner would be prohibited from refusing to lease to a prospective resident or penalize an existing resident solely for their status as a medical marijuana cardholder.
- A property owner would not be penalized or denied any benefit under state law for leasing to a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver.
- An exception for a property owner to these provisions can be granted if it can be shown that housing the individual would cause the property owner to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal laws or regulations – which might apply to properties accepting certain housing vouchers.
The possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is currently legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. The Georgia Legislature will convene its 2015 session on Jan. 12.
Source: Georgia State Senate