What Homeowners Associations Need To Know About Decriminalization of Cannabis in Minnesota Part III: Prohibitions on Use of Cannabis in Multi-Family Buildings

The decriminalization of adult use and sale of cannabis will have a significant impact on Minnesotans, including those who live in homeowners associations. Part I of this article provided a broad overview of what the decriminalization means for associations. Part II focused on nuisance claims and the potential consequences for associations responding to such claims. Part III focuses on the future prohibition on use of cannabis in multi-family buildings.

Use of Cannabis in Multi-Family Buildings

Effective March 1, 2025, vaping or smoking cannabis products in multi-family buildings, including balconies and patios, will be prohibited. Violation of the prohibition is punishable by a civil fine of $250.00.

The cannabis law does not specifically define “multi-family building.” However, based on use of the term in other laws and ordinances, the ban would apply to apartment buildings as well as apartment-style condominiums and cooperatives. It is unclear whether the restrictions would apply to townhomes or townhome-style condominiums with no indoor shared space. We hope the legislature will provide some clarification on that issue before the restrictions take effect.

How does the change affect how associations do business?

No resident of apartment-style buildings will be permitted to vape or smoke cannabis products, regardless of whether an association otherwise regulates or restricts smoking or vaping in the community.

Since most associations’ governing documents state that a violation of law constitutes a violation under the governing documents, a person violating the ban would be subject not only to the civil fine provided under the law, but also to fine under the association’s governing documents.

In anticipation of the effective date of the ban, associations will need to update policies and procedures to reflect the ban. By publicizing the pending ban—and the ramifications of violating the ban—well in advance of the effective date of the ban, associations can minimize violations and thus minimize administrative actions related to the ban, which will leave more time for the association to devote to other important issues that face all associations.

When does this change take effect?

As noted, this change takes effect March 1, 2025. This will allow associations time to update policies and procedures that will be affected by the ban, and to ensure all residents in the community are aware of the ban and prepared to comply with it.

If you have questions about how the laws regarding adult use and sale of cannabis in Minnesota may impact your association, please contact attorney Nancy Polomis at 952-746-2105 or [email protected].