Cannabis And Your Neighbors. What Are Your Rights? What Are Their Rights?

Even if your state has legalized marijuana, your neighbors or your homeowners’ association may not be on board.

Most states that have legalized medical marijuana or recreational marijuana limit consumption to places out of view of the general public. In other words, you are mostly limited to consuming cannabis in the privacy of your own home or of someone else’s home. But what if you want to smoke in your backyard, or on your balcony?  What if the ventilation in your condo is such that your neighbors can smell what you’re up to from the hallway or from their own unit?

HOA Rules & Cannabis

Although homeowners’ associations cannot ban you from consuming cannabis in your own home when it’s legal, it would appear that in some states and locales, they can regulate it if it is acting as a nuisance.

If you live in a condo or newer suburban development, chances are, you are a member of a homeowners’ association. Unfortunately, many people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their HOA rules and regulations until they have a problem. In addition to knowing your state and local laws regarding cannabis, you should familiarize yourself with your HOA rules, because failing to abide by them might lead to fines or court cases and also to less-than-ideal relations with your neighbors.

cannabis laws by state

View the US Map of Marijuana Legality


Most cannabis-related HOA rules address consumption in common areas, or cases where the smell of marijuana wafts from one neighbor’s patio or yard into a common area or another neighbor’s space. Growing marijuana and hemp is another issue. Even if it’s legal, if your neighbors can smell it or see it, your HOA rules may try to ban it.

If you don’t like your HOA’s rules, become a part of the rule-making process and lobby to change them. And if you haven’t purchased your home yet, check out the HOA rules in advance. If you plan on enjoying cannabis during your backyard barbecues, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle and potentially serious money if you know the HOA rules by which you might have to abide.

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