Pot may be legal, but homeowner agreements can ban

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Pot may be legal, but homeowner agreements can ban
Dana Metz, 64, of Sparks, Nev., was at the head of the line at the window to be among the first in Nevada on Friday July 31, 2015, to legally purchase medical marijuana at the Silver State Relief dispensary in Sparks, Nev. Nevadans voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2000, but no language was in place to establish a system to sell or distribute it until 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)
Pot revelers smoke during a mass lighting ceremony to mark the 4/20 marijuana holiday Monday, April 20, 2015, in Denver. The mass lighting marked the end of multiple days of festivities surrounding the unofficial 4/20 marijuana holiday in Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
An unidentified pot reveler carries a modified version of the state flag of Colorado during activities on the unofficial marijuana holiday Monday, April 20, 2015, in Denver. A mass lighting marked the end of multiple days of festivities in Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A reveler lights a joint to take part in a mass lighting ceremony to cap multiple days of festivities to mark the unofficial 4/20 marijuana holiday Monday, April 20, 2015, in Denver. The mass lighting was done at 4:20 p.m. to cap off the activities in Colorado. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Lakewood, CO - MARCH, 4: Sales associate, Crystal Guess handles a jar of cannabis inside a Good Meds medical cannabis center in Lakewood, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, March 4, 2013. This is at a Good Meds medical cannabis center in Lakewood, and is one of the facilities that Kristi Kelly, Co-Founder of Good Meds Network, operates. (Photo by Matthew Staver/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
In this photograph taken Saturday, April 25, 2015, grow lights turn the color of marijuana plants under cultivation to yellow as a contingent of Nevada lawmakers, their staffers and a handful of lobbyists toured one of two retail and grow operations for both medical and recreational marijuana in northeast Denver. Nevada lawmakers on the fact-finding mission to Colorado say that they were impressed with the level of refinement already achieved by the state's recreational marijuana suppliers. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
MEAUX, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: A field of legal cannabis plants selected for their low content of THC grows on August 25, 2014 near Meaux, France. Cannabis is the source of hemp, which is used in a variety of applications including insulation, textiles, rope and paper. France is the second largest producer of industrial hemp in the world after China. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
This photo taken on July 15, 2014 shows a cannabis plant growing in a garden in Cologne, Germany. A German court ruled for the first time on July 22 that seriously ill patients may grow their own marijuana for medical purposes in certain cases. AFP PHOTO / DPA / OLIVER BERG /GRMANY OUT (Photo credit should read OLIVER BERG/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 30: A marijuana plant grows under a black light at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, December 30 2013. Starting January 1st Colorado will be the first U.S. state to allow recreational marijuana. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Model ChaCha VaVoom shows her style at the HempCon medical marijuana show, May 24, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered for the three-day event for exhibits of medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives, evaluation services, legal services and equipment and accessories. Under California state law, people suffering from chronic diseases have the right to grow, buy and use marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a doctor. In 2003 the Medical Marijuana Protection Act, established an identification card system for medical marijuana patients. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Attendees look at marijuana paraphenelia displays at the HempCon medical marijuana show, May 24, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts gathered for the three-day event for exhibits of medical marijuana dispensaries, collectives, evaluation services, legal services and equipment and accessories. Under California state law, people suffering from chronic diseases have the right to grow, buy and use marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a doctor. In 2003 the Medical Marijuana Protection Act, established an identification card system for medical marijuana patients. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Desiree Martin A picture taken on April 12, 2013 shows plants of marijuana at the plantation of the Sibaratas Med Can association in Mogan on the southwest coast of the island of Gran Canaria. The plants grow from cuttings for approximately two months and then blossom before being harvested, dried, stored in jars for a month and later processed to be consumed on site. Spanish law prohibits the possession of soft drugs like cannabis in public and its growth to be sold for profit is illegal. But the law does tolerate growing cannabis for personal use and its consumption in private. Dozens of private marijuana smoking clubs operate across Spain that take advantage of this legal loophole that serve cannabis users who do not want to get their drugs from the streets. AFP PHOTO / DESIREE MARTIN (Photo credit should read DESIREE MARTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Marijuana plants grow at the MedMar Healing Center, a medical-marijuana dispensary, in San Jose, California, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. San Jose is the medical-marijuana capital of Silicon Valley with 106 clinics, about twice as many per square mile as Los Angeles. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - NOV 04: Adam Eidinger, co-owner of Capitol Hemp is a leader in the push to fully legalize the possession and use (of up to two ounces) of marijuana and the possession and cultivation of up to three marijuana plants. He was at the after-party for the Yes on 71 event at the Meridian Pint bar as early returns were in favor of the proposition. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOV 04: Lots of initiative 71 supporters were happy as early returns showed the pro-pot law leading early in the evening. The after-party for the Yes on 71 event was held at the Meridian Pint bar. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOV 04: (L) Adam Eidinger, co-owner of Capitol Hemp is a leader in the push to fully legalize the possession and use (of up to two ounces) of marijuana and the possession and cultivation of up to three marijuana plants. He was at the polling place at Burke E.S. in Washington, D.C. lobbying voters as they arrived to vote. At right is fellow hemp supporter Zack Pesavendo. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
AURORA, CO - OCTOBER 13: Ray Saccomano, from Aurora, gives one strain of marijuana the smell test. Saccomano says he is glad to have a store close to where he lives. Euflora, the first retail marijuana store in Aurora, opens on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 at 6260 S. Gun Club Road. The store had no lines of people waiting outside prior to opening, but saw a small, steady crowd as the doors opened. (Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Marijuana (cannabis) is arranged for a photograph inside the Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BETHPAGE, NY - AUGUST 30: A closeup view of marijuana in a grinder as photographed on August 30, 2014 in Bethpage, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2013, photo marijuana matures in ideal conditions at the Medicine Man dispensary and grow operation in northeast Denver. A pro-marijuana group hoping to ride a wave of mounting acceptance for cannabis filed an initiative petition Wednesday April 23, 2014, seeking to legalize recreational pot use in Nevada. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, file)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 09: A participant smokes a marijuana joint while marching in the annual Hemp Parade (Hanfparade) on August 9, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Supporters of cannabis legalization are hoping legalized sale in parts of the USA will increase the likelihood of legalization in Germany. The city of Berlin is considering allowing the sale of cannabis in one city district. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2014 file photo, a worker cultivates a special strain of medical marijuana known as Charlotte's Web inside a greenhouse, in a remote spot in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, Colo. Utah will begin issuing registration cards Tuesday, July 8, 2014, for its limited medical marijuana program targeting adults and children with severe epilepsy. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
This July 3, 2014 photo shows Jim Denny inspecting the growth of a field of hemp on his property in Brighton, Colo. Denny learned the hard way that he needed neighbors’ permission before growing hemp. He learned about marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin at an event earlier this spring and decided to try the crop on a 75-by-100-foot plot in his yard. But Denny’s hemp plot ran afoul of his homeowners’ association, which ruled the hemp experiment unacceptable. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
In this Thursday, July 10, 2014, photo, students taste a cannabis-infused dipping sauce prepared during a cooking class at the New England Grass Roots Institute in Quincy, Mass. The proliferation of marijuana edibles for medical and recreational use is giving rise to a cottage industry of foods, infused olive oils, cookbooks and classes as more states legalize marijuana use. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
An employee pulls marijuana out of a large canister for a customer at the LoDo Wellness Center in downtown Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Marijuana (cannabis) is arranged for a photograph inside the Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CALISTOGA, CA. FEB. 4: Gordon Brownell is a lawyer, and Republican, who ran for first campaign for legalization of marijuana in California in 1972. Some pot and a pipe, the package is from one of the first medical marijuana stores in California
Marijuana (cannabis) is arranged for a photograph inside the Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mayor Liz Skinner of Delavan, a town of 1,700 in central Illinois, talks about the annexed property optioned by Joliet-based ICC Holdings as a possible site for a marijuana cultivation center, Friday, July 11, 2014. This soybean field is where the center would be built. The prospect of adding jobs, even as few as 30, has led officials in many shrinking Illinois' communities to set aside any qualms about the state's legalization of medical marijuana and to get friendly with would-be growers. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Marijuana plant clones stand for sale in The Green Solution dispensary in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A man holds a giant joint during a march for the legalization of cannabis in Santiago, on May 18, 2013, as part of the 2013 Global Marijuana March which is being held in hundreds of cities worldwide AFP PHOTO / Martin BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCT10: Medical marijuana is dispensed at the Takoma Wellness Center, October 10, 2014, in Takoma Park, DC. Marijuana legalization in the district is medicinal at this point but activists are looking for a broader relaxation of the law. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A 'legalize' poster for a referendum about legalizing marijuana is placed with mayoral posters in Washington, DC on October 31, 2014. Ballot Initiative 71 would legalize the cultivation and possession of limited amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia. AFP PHOTO/YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 09: A sticker calling for the legalization of marijuana lies on the street at the annual Hemp Parade (Hanfparade) on August 9, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Supporters of cannabis legalization are hoping legalized sale in parts of the USA will increase the likelihood of legalization in Germany. The city of Berlin is considering allowing the sale of cannabis in one city district. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 09: Participants, including two with a marijuana leaf emblem on their bellies, dance at the annual Hemp Parade (Hanfparade) on August 9, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Supporters of cannabis legalization are hoping legalized sale in parts of the USA will increase the likelihood of legalization in Germany. The city of Berlin is considering allowing the sale of cannabis in one city district. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
FILE - This Feb. 1, 2011 file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. The Marijuana Policy Project on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, will file paperwork with the California secretary of state’s office for a new committee that aims to put a pot legalization measure on the November 2016 state ballot, the group said. ( AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
In this photo taken Oct. 9, 2014, Adam Eidinger, chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign, puts up posters encouraging people to vote yes on DC Ballot Initiative 71 to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use, in Washington. Legalized weed would look far different in the nation's capital than it does in other places that have chosen to decriminalize marijuana. Even if voters approve it next month, as appears likely, it would remain banned in the roughly one-fourth of the District of Columbia that is federal land, so there would still be no lighting a joint in front of the Jefferson Memorial. The capital also remains under the thumb of Congress, which could quash legalization in D.C. regardless of what the voters want. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Activists gather in front of Uruguayan Congress as the Senate in support of the legalization of marijuana outside the Congress in Montevideo, Uruguay, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. Uruguay's Senate gave final congressional approval Tuesday to create the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana, an audacious experiment that will have the government oversee production, sales and consumption of a drug illegal almost everywhere else. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
This handout photo provided by the Prince George's County, Md. Police Department shows seizes packages of marijuana-infused candy. Prince George's County police say they've seized several boxes of candy infused with marijuana. Police said Friday that the candy came to the area from the West Coast and Colorado, and includes taffy and chocolate bars. Each piece of candy seized, they say, has about 100 milligrams of THC. (AP Photo/Prince George's County, Md. Police Department)
A visitor walks through the pot pavilion at Denver County Fair, the nation's first county fair to allow pot competitions, in Denver, Friday Aug. 1, 2014. There’s no actual weed at the fairgrounds. Instead, fairgoers will see photos of competing pot plants and marijuana-infused foods. A sign near the entry warns patrons not to consume pot at the fair. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
In this June 19, 2014 photo, green cannabis-infused "canna butter" is placed with regular butter in a stainless steel mixer at the start of batter mixing, inside Sweet Grass Kitchen, a well-established gourmet marijuana edibles bakery which sells its confections to retail outlets, in Denver. Sweet Grass Kitchen, like other cannabis food producers in the state, is held to rigorous health inspection standards, and has received praise from inspectors, according to owner Julie Berliner. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
File--In this Oct. 2, 2014, file photo, Danielle Baldwin arranges canisters of medical marijuana at Puffs Smoke Shop in Ashland, Ore. An economist said today at the Oregon Economic Forum that legalizing marijuana increases the supply and reduces the price, so consumers tend not to notice the tax burden.(AP Photo/Jeff Barnard, file)
In this photo taken Wednesday June 20, 2012, David Kosmecki, left, 23, talks to Idaho State Police Trooper Justin Klitch, right, in Fruitland, Idaho. Kosmecki was stopped and charged with possession of marijuana after leaving Oregon. Kosmecki says a friend bought the marijuana at a medical co-op in Ontario, Ore. At the 45th Parallel marijuana clinic, patients stream in weekly to take advantage of Oregon's medical marijuana program. The situation has led some Idaho families to relocate to Oregon, and others who seek medical marijuana to face a harrowing journey back to their home state. Idaho police and politicians say the Oregon law creates a public-safety hazard in their state. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)
In this Sept. 14, 2014 photo, a worker inspect the crystalline resin powder "extracted hash" by fire in his hand in the Village of Bni Ahmed in the Ketama Abdelghaya valley, northern Morocco. There are an estimated 80,000 families in the rugged northern Rif mountains of Morocco who make their living from growing marijuana, according to U.N. estimates and their efforts have made Morocco the main hashish supplier for Europe and the world. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)
A man walks past the Silver State Relief medical marijuana dispensary in Sparks, Nev., Friday, July 31, 2015, just after it became the first in the state to start selling medical pot legally. Nevadans voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2000, but no language was in place to establish a system to sell or distribute it until 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)
FILE - In this March 22, 2012, file photo, Chad Gilmore, store manager at the Patient ID Center, rings up Britt Freitas as she pays for her new medical cannabis patient identification card at the Patient ID Center in Oakland, Calif. A commission led by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is releasing its recommendations on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, for how marijuana should be grown, sold, taxed and kept out of the hands of minors if voters decide to legalize the drug for recreational use next year. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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By KRISTEN WYATT

DENVER (AP) - Pot may be legal in some states - but the neighbors don't have to like it.

Marijuana and hemp have joined wacky paint colors and unsightly fences as common neighborhood disputes facing homeowners' associations. Though a few HOAs have willingly changed their rules to accommodate for legal marijuana use or home-growing, many more are banning home pot smoking.

Homeowners' associations can't ban members from using marijuana in their homes when it's legal. But if neighbors can see or smell weed, the law is clear - HOAs have every right to regulate the drug as a nuisance, or a threat to children along the lines of a swimming pool with no fence.

"The fact that people may be legally entitled to smoke doesn't mean they can do it wherever they want, any more than they could walk into a restaurant and light up a cigarette," said Richard Thompson, who owns a management consulting company that specializes in condominium and homeowner associations.

Thompson said his home condo development in Portland, Oregon, is a prime example of how marijuana's growing acceptance has sparked neighbor conflicts.

"As soon as spring and summer come around, we hear complaints about marijuana smoke because people are out on their patios and they have the windows down," he said.

It's not clear how many homeowners' associations have confronted marijuana conflicts in the 23 states with some form of legal marijuana. But lawyers who specialize in HOA disputes, as well as a Colorado regulatory agency that advises HOAs, say there are growing conflicts among neighbors who want to smoke pot and others who don't want to see it or smell it.

"What we're really seeing more now is regulating the associations' common areas," such as smoke wafting onto playgrounds or others' porches, said Erin McManis, an attorney in Phoenix whose firm represents hundreds of Arizona HOAs.

The Carrillo Ranch homeowners association in Chandler, Arizona, earlier this year took the rare step of withdrawing a proposed ban on residents smoking medical marijuana in their front and backyards and on their patios.

The HOA planned a meeting on the topic in March, but withdrew the proposal after many residents opposed the ban as too harsh.

"This is a personal-freedom issue where people were going to dictate how other people should live," Carrillo Ranch resident Tom LaBonte told The Arizona Republic in February, when the HOA dropped its proposal.

HOA lawyers say the Carrillo Ranch case illustrates the value of HOAs when the law changes, as with marijuana.

"Coming together and working on issues is something associations have been doing for a long time," McManis said. "We're hopeful that's how it's going to go forward now with medical marijuana."

Smoke isn't the only neighbor complaint posed by loosening marijuana laws. Growing pot and hemp is prompting neighbor disputes, too.

A suburban Denver retiree learned the hard way this spring that he needed neighbors' permission before growing hemp. Jim Denny, of Brighton, Colorado, learned about marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin and decided to try the crop on a 75-by-100-foot plot in his yard.

But Denny's hemp plot ran afoul of his homeowners' association, which ruled the hemp experiment unacceptable.

"As soon as they heard about it, they said, 'We're not going to let anyone grow marijuana here,'" Denny said. "I explained to them that hemp is not marijuana, but they were dead-set against it."

So with his hemp plants about 2 feet tall, Denny invited hemp activists to come transplant them to somewhere without opposition from a homeowner association. Denny sold the plants for about $3 each, a good price for a plant whose seeds can cost up to $10 each because it can't be imported.

Hemp activists volunteered to pay Denny's fines for flouting the HOA, which could have run to $600 a day. But Denny decided that living peacefully with his neighbors trumped making a political point.

"I had people calling up and saying, 'It's just a shame; we'll pay your fines all the way through to the end.' But I decided in the end not to fight it," said Denny, a technical writer and former software engineer. "At the end of the day, I live here."

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