It was obvious with the approval of Amendment 20 in 2000 allowing medical marijuana dispensaries that the amendments initiators had something far greater in mind than just providing medicine to those with certain medical conditions. Statistics show that the average age of a medical marijuana card holder is between 39 and 42 while the incidents of MS, glaucoma and cancer spread across a much more diverse portion of the population. Medical marijuana supporters may deny any abuse of the system but the statistics would lead one to believe there are a lot of people between the ages of 39 and 42 that received cards under false pretenses.
The passing of Amendment 64 last month legalizing small quantities of marijuana for recreational use by adults in Colorado is certainly the evolution of Amendment 20 and what initiators were working towards when Amendment 20 was presented to the public in 2000. My blog today is going to address some concerns that business owners and apartment community managers should have over the passing of this new bill. I’ll start first with some concerns for business owners.
The biggest concern for business owners is someone coming to work impaired and operating machinery that could cause harm to themselves or others. Certainly, in spite of what some kids might think as they grinningly wait in the grocery checkout line with snacks, marijuana smoke definitely clings to clothing and has a distinct odor. Owners will have a pretty good indication that an employee shouldn’t be operating equipment or for that matter is at work if they smell of marijuana smoke. But is that enough evidence to send someone home? Owners who have suspicions that someone is marijuana impaired could have them tested but the test is slow to provide results and nobody seems to agree at this time as to what level of THC would be too much to in someone’s system. To complicate matters further, THC remains in a person’s system longer than alcohol and with repeated use THC levels build over time. I believe until this issue is addressed business owners will be at risk to damages is an accident occurs. I also believe that manufacturing firms that might have looked a Colorado for possible relocation of their plant may delay a decision or make a decision to go elsewhere rather than take the added liability from recreational marijuana use in the state.
Apartment community managers face a somewhat different set of problems from Amendment 64 legalization of recreational use of marijuana. Adults not only can use marijuana, they can also grow up to six plants in their own home. This will create complications for property managers of government subsidized properties, those participating in crime free – drug free communities and those whose resident mix includes individuals whose careers restrict any use of recreational drugs. The medical or recreational use of marijuana is still against federal law and any property that receives funds from the federal government could lose those funds if they allowed the use on their property. Certainly a crime free – drug free property couldn’t permit it use. The most difficult properties will be those that have no restrictions other than those imposed by the property owner. If an owner does allow residents to use marijuana will they be open to liability if through second hand smoke another resident who works for an employer who bans such use by its employees test positive for the drug and loses their job?
As you can see, there are things which businesses and managers should be concerned about and I don’t believe the governor took into consideration when he prematurely signed the law into effect prior to the first of the year. These next few weeks leading up to the first should have been used to determine how the issues addressed here and others that I didn’t address should be handled. Unfortunately we are left and dry by the governor and must now stumble along making the best choices we can with the limited information we have. My suggestion is to either get advice from an attorney or base all your decisions upon Federal law … it is illegal and it won’t be allowed here.
CEO, Employing Broker
Katchen Company, founded in 1962, is an integrated real estate company with its corporate headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado. The company offers real estate development, redevelopment, property management, brokerage, consulting services, construction oversight and maintenance services to individual and institutional real estate investors throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area in Denver with satellite offices in Chicago, Las Vegas
and Miami market areas.