Medical Marijuana: How Card-Carrying Renters Cope

medical marijuanaFourteen states plus our nation's capital now have legalized medical marijuana use. However, that doesn't mean state-issued, card-carrying Americans in those green states can just spark up on any American stoop. For renters, puffing pot is best kept behind closed and sealed doors, out of sight of uptight landlords. Medical marijuana is for indoor smoking and growing, especially for renters.

Just because state governments give the 10-4 on the 4/20, doesn't mean a landlord has to be cool with passing the peace pipe. While the decriminalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes spreads like a wild fire across the United States, smokers and growers carrying cards don't necessarily have amnesty from landlords, particularly those who maintain an overall no-smoking policy and don't understand the current legislation.

"The landlord can deny you status, and there is no protection here for that yet," says Ean Seeb, owner of Denver Relief, a medical marijuana center in Denver, who previously worked as a real estate agent. "It's not a protected status like gender, race, or a physical disability or handicap."

Here are a few tips from two responsible card carrying real estate professionals on how to puff privately behind the thin veil of smoke -- without offending neighbors -- or worse, ending up with an eviction notice.

1. Follow those signs that read: Green space available. That's a solid clue that you're dealing with landlords who recognize the green boom are offering space for residential smokers and commercial space for growers. "Those landlords who are smarter and fully understanding of the law recognize that there are good tenants carrying cards and that they will pay a premium for the space," says Seeb.

2. Be a good neighbor. Keep the smoke private and indoors. Close the windows when you're smoking so the scent doesn't offend neighbors. Don't smoke on a balcony or in a back yard even if it's fenced in. More than the sight of smoke is the scent that often offends neighbors with your condo board, neighborhood watch, landlord or super on speed dial.

3. Seek out residential and commercial situations where you are dealing with a private landlord vs. management company. "Those larger, major complex," says Sean, a card carrying real estate agent based in Southern California who asked to keep his last name private. "The landlords of individually owned condo tend to be more educated and well-versed in the law. Also the chances are high that they consume as well."

4. Those who lived in a shared space like an apartment building or townhouse should invest in vaporizer and charcoal air filter, advises Seeb. "Growers all used these because otherwise the neighborhood would reek for blocks. Incense doesn't cover the smell, but filters suck out all that 'foul smelling' air."

"Your really want to be mindful of your vents if you are living in an apartment or somewhere with roomates who don't smoke," says Sean who suggests buying medical marijuana accoutrements from VaporNation and Zen Healing, a medical marijuana dispensary in West Hollywood, Calif.

5. Dispose of your waste properly. Those who enjoy medical marijuana edibles like brownies, candies and cookies should make sure any remains or packaging is bagged up tightly to prevent kids and animals from accidentally ingesting. Edibles also don't carry the same odor smoking does, but can be just as potent.

"Use the same common sense you would use with prescription drugs and make everything tamper proof," says Seeb. "Don't leave stuff out in the open if you have children and pets. It's hard to tell between a marijuana brownie and a regular one."

Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estateguides that can help:

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