Pot Bill Would Affect Renters

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LANSING (WILX)-- Should medical marijuana patients and caregivers be able to smoke and grow their medicine on rental properties?

A bill introduced by Senator Rick Jones (R) Grand Ledge would prevent people from smoking and growing on private property without the landlord's permission.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday took testimony on the bill. There was overwhelmingly strong opposition to the bill, but a few landlords took the time to tell their side of the story.

"I had a resident that when I asked him to remove it he stated he had a medical marijuana card. I had to wait until the lease was up and then it was costly for us to turn the unit. We had to dissipate the smell and clean the ducts. It took us two months to clean," said Michelle Foley, Ann Arbor Landlord.

"We recently had a situation where the police came and this guy had a ventilation system in his apartment, he had a towel in front of the door, he was doing everything he could to keep it from going out into the hallways but you could still smell it in the ground floor... People question us for not taking care of it as landlords," said a landlord from Wyoming, MI.

The bill focuses on growing and smoking, taking the drug in pill form or by cream would still be allowed.

"If you're going to smoke and bother people, you need to own your own home. If you're growing a mini farm, you need your own home," said Jones.

Opponents argue not everyone can afford to own a home. Medical Marijuana Caregiver and renter Maria Green says changing the law would only create more problems.

"All it's doing is giving more ammunition to the police and prosecutors. They'll to be able to prosecute these caregivers and patients who are sick." said Green.

Green agrees landlords could use more protection but believe lawmakers should go about it a different way.

"Allow a landlord to get a higher deposit if somebody wants to grow marijuana, or a higher deposit if they are a medical marijuana patient. Something they're allowed to get back."

The judiciary committee will amend the bill before trying to pass it to the senate.
There's concern the bill could conflict with the landlord-tenant agreement act.

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