Arkansas, Pot and the Landlord

Feb 2017: LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Despite voters approving the use of medical marijuana, new legislation filed would make it illegal to actually smoke it.

As the law is written right now, a landlord could tell someone who might have a prescription that he or she couldn’t smoke it on their property. However, the landlord could not keep that person from using alternative forms. If the new bill filed by Senator Jason Rapert were to pass all of that could change.

Lakeshia Brown lives in an apartment paying rent for the first time on her own. If a doctor suggested she use medical marijuana and then her landlord says that she can’t smoke it on the property, Brown would be upset.

“If the doctor prescribed it to me and they tell me I can’t take it I would no longer live on this property.”

However with Senator Rapert’s bill filed Thursday, it wouldn’t matter because he added a line to the law that says Arkansans are not permitted to smoke marijuana in any location in Arkansas. The current law doesn’t allow a landlord to prohibit alternatives to smoking, but Rapert’s amendment strikes that section out leaving some to wonder if landlords could then say no to alternatives like edibles as well.

“If I really need it and not allowed to take it. That’s a problem also,” Brown said.

Some landlords tell us though that may not matter. Because most of their concerns center around the smoke.

Doug Melkovitz has around 60 tenants in Little Rock.

“I think the people I know really don’t care about medical marijuana or about marijuana in general,” said Melkovitz. “I think our biggest concern is for the building and other tenants and if you’re ingesting it in other ways than smoking it’s not an issue.”

While others biggest issue comes from changing the law in general.

“If we sit there and voted for it and got approved for it and they trying to take it from us it makes it seem like we don’t have a voice really,” Brown said.

Senator Rapert was out of town for a speaking engagement unavailable to comment on his intent behind the bill other than prohibiting smoking medical marijuana anywhere. While a cosponsor said they haven’t read the bill which was filed yesterday.