What is a Homeowners Association? And Can They Prevent You From Growing Your Medical Weed?

What is a Homeowners Association? And Can They Prevent You From Growing Your Medical Weed?

Great, Colorado’s amendment 64 states that it has no issue with adults who choose to grow pot, or smoke marijuana in the privacy of their own home. And California has had medical marijuana since 1996, which also allows for the cultivation of marijuana and the consumption of its flower. Yet, with the ever-changing nature of ‘Ward and June Cleaver’s’ neighborhood. The days of stand-alone homes, supported by the city’s infrastructure, are quickly giving way to homeowners associations.

These Homeowners associations are self-governing neighborhoods. Most have CCR’s [covets, conditions and restrictions] which outline exactly what you can and cannot do to your property. That goes for both inside the home and out. Generally speaking, each HOA has its own goose-stepping, rule enforcer, looking for issues caused by anyone foolish enough to step outside of line. And I’m pretty sure based on the demographics in your average HOA ‘grandpa and grandma’ — would be none too stoked to discover marijuana farmers, growing pot in the house next to theirs.

For Colorado’s pot smoking, weed growers… their answer may come sooner, rather than later.

Michael Roberts — That question will be addressed at a panel discussion tomorrow. But an attorney who’ll be taking part in the event believes the answer is, under certain circumstances, “yes.”

Here’s the passage pertaining to home grows in Amendment 64. It allows the following:

POSSESSING, GROWING, PROCESSING, OR TRANSPORTING NO MORE THAN SIX MARIJUANA PLANTS, WITH THREE OR FEWER BEING MATURE, FLOWERING PLANTS, AND POSSESSION OF THE MARIJUANA PRODUCED BY THE PLANTS ON THE PREMISES WHERE THE PLANTS WERE GROWN, PROVIDED THAT THE GROWING TAKES PLACE IN AN ENCLOSED, LOCKED SPACE, IS NOT CONDUCTED OPENLY OR PUBLICLY, AND IS NOT MADE AVAILABLE FOR SALE.

This language is now enshrined in the state’s constitution, but it may not prevent an HOA from establishing rules of its own, says Jerry Orten. An HOA attorney and spokesman for the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Community Associations Institute, whose Spring Showcase and Trade Show gets underway tomorrow at the Colorado Convention Center, Orten will be front and center at “Marijuana & Other Odors — What Can and Should HOAs Do,” which kicks off at 10:15 a.m. Other panelists include attorney Christian Sederberg, who represented the campaign on the Amendment 64 task force, plus Wellness Shop owner Jeremy Kilborne and HOA community manager Matt Egan.

“It’s not a given that HOAs are going to jump into this issue head over heels,” Orten says. “Many of them may look at this and evaluate it and potentially do nothing, leaving all the regulatory authority to either state or local government. But some HOAs might jump into it.”

Orten believes they have every right to do so.

“In my view, and probably in the view of most, HOAs have the authority,” he maintains. “The constitutional amendments, Amendment 64 and Amendment 20,” a 2000 measure that legalized medical marijuana in Colorado, “apply principally to government. It doesn’t apply to private rights, and essentially, HOAs are private communities.

“If they want to create a more restrictive regime, they can — and that’s what some communities may want to do, because either the smell of growing cannabis or the smell of smoked cannabis may be offensive to others in the community.”

The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006 “puts a number of limitations on where you can smoke tobacco,” Orten points out, “and also other types of smoke others might find offensive: pipe smoke, cigar smoke, other unique cooking odors.” Presumably, marijuana smoke would fall under this measure as well.

Yet the nagging question remains. Can these ‘idealistic, Stepford wives’ communities ban marijuana consumption or cultivation on moral grounds alone? If so, things could get very sticky.