Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016, allowing registered patients to use cannabis to help treat 23 serious medical conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, and glaucoma.
As of December 2020, more than a half million patients and caregivers are registered, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
But while marijuana is legal for medical use in the commonwealth, it is still illegal federally, where it’s listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, alongside drugs like heroin and LSD. That inconsistency has created a number of challenges — and housing rights for medical marijuana patients is among them.
If you are a medical marijuana patient, Pennsylvania law prevents you from being discriminated against at work, but doesn’t say anything about housing, says Pittsburgh-based attorney Patrick Nightingale. “This is one of the many unaddressed subjects in our medical marijuana law that directly impacts patients.”
So, if you’re a patient, what does that mean for you? Can landlords refuse to rent to you, or even evict you? And what should you tell your landlord when looking for housing? Here are some basics: