If I think that my tenant is committing a violation of the law, what can I do?

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2012

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If I think that my tenant is committing a violation of the law, what can I do?

I sold my house on 6 acres and carried the note. The buyer is growing medical marijuana. I know it is legal in my state to do this if you have the proper prescriptions and I am sure he does. I am more worried about after harvest when there is a quantity of dry marijuana on the premises. The deed of trust the buyer signed in escrow says he cannot “commit, suffer or permit any act upon said property in violation of the law”. Is this a violation of the law and, if so, can I legally ask him to stop growing ASAP? And if I don’t try to stop him and he gets arrested how will it affect my property?

Asked on July 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Marijuana law is somewhat complex, but here are the basics:

CA Law: With med marijuana card can possess and grow limited amount of plants.  Usually less than 99 plants is not prosecuted.

Federal Law:  Any possession of marijuana is illegal regardless of state law.  Any cultivation of marijuana is illegal regardless of state law. Agents are authorized to take possession of a landlord's property and confiscate it when they had notice of the illegal activity and failed to stop it.

I am a little confused at why there was a deed of trust signed at escrow if this person is your tenant, wouldn't they have signed a lease?  Did they buy the building and you own the lot? 

The bottom line is that what they are doing is illegal under Federal law and leaves you exposed to having the property confiscated.  THey are violating the terms iof the deed of trust, because although legal under state law, it is illegal under Federal law.  You need to write consult a local attorney, write the tenant a cease and desist letter, and cooperate with federal authorities in a way that prevents your exposure to liability/loss of property.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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