Society

Arizona Homeowners' Association Prohibits Medical Marijuana Use In Backyards

| by Will Hagle

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, a law passed in 2010, legally allows Arizona residents with doctors’ recommendations to obtain and possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana. A homeowners' association based in Chandler, Ariz., however, is restricting its residents' pot use even if they have medical prescriptions for the drug. 

The Homeowners' Association of Carrilo Ranch recently declared that its residents are forbidden from smoking medical marijuana in the front yard, back yard or on the patio of their homes. If a patient or recreational user does want to smoke marijuana, he or she must do so indoors. 

According to medical marijuana attorney Ryan Hurley, the smoking restrictions created by the Homeowners' Association should be limited to shared, public areas of the neighborhood. 

“These patients have the right to use their medication just like you or I have the right to use any prescription,” Hurley said to AZ Family. "The HOA rules also apply to common areas in the neighborhood. I tend to think that any incursion into the private property rights of somebody using the medication on their own property is probably an overreach."

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Other attorneys claim that the situation is not quite so easy to define. According to AZ Central, the laws that come into play regarding a situation such as this include fair-housing laws, the American Disabilities Act, Arizona laws that say medical marijuana is legal, and the contrasting federal law that says the drug is illegal. 

Attorney Curtis Ekmark claimed that individuals often have to sacrifice public rights when moving into a neighborhood with a homeowners' association.

“I may have the right to a dog, but if I move into an association, I lose that right if the documents prohibit dogs,” Ekmark said. 

It is uncertain whether the medical marijuana patients living in the neighborhood will react against the Homeowners' Association’s new rules, or if they will adjust to them accordingly.