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Hawaii Property Owners Can’t Evict Medical Marijuana Smokers

Medical Marijuana

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) has signed into law a bill that makes it illegal for rental property owners to evict a resident for smoking medical marijuana. However, the bill does not usurp the right of a property owner to ban smoking on the property or within the unit.

HB 1503/Act 60 states that any provision in a rental agreement allowing for the eviction of a tenant with a valid certificate for the medical use of marijuana is void, unless the rental agreement allows for eviction for any kind of smoking (including tobacco). Exceptions are included for community associations and condo rules, and the law does not affect duties, penalties or proceedings that occurred or begun before its effective date. The new law takes effect Nov. 1.

The Hawaii Legislature considered a number of bills in the 2014 session aimed at the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. As with previous attempts, these measures failed. Legalization advocates and civil libertarians were energized by the case of a local minister’s arrest for growing and distributing marijuana, which he believes to be a religious sacrament.

In addition to HB 1503, the Legislature approved House Concurrent Resolution 48, which establishes a task force of physicians, patients, caregivers, and community allies to make recommendations for a medical marijuana dispensary system.

Associated Press, Hawaii State Legislature