Mercer Island apartment complex bans pot, even in tenants' own units

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by CHRIS INGALLS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Washington’s new marijuana law says you can smoke pot in your own home – or does it.

Owners of a Mercer Island apartment complex have notified residents that they are not allowed to smoke pot or cigarettes in their apartment units and they’re required to report their neighbors who do.

“It’s scary,” said resident Alexander Aversano.  “It affects my way of life.”

Aversano is a medical marijuana user who uses a smokeless cannabis oil to treat back pain he incurred during the Iraq war in 2005.

“It’s like the Gestapo,” the Army veteran said of the three-page notice management at the 77 Complex placed on tenants' doors Thursday night.

The letter by Abode Management, LLC of Renton says marijuana use and possession is prohibited in the building.  It also says apartments can be searched if management gets a written notice that a tenant has been using pot.

The letter asks tenants to sign the agreement not to use marijuana or cigarettes or face eviction.

“I don’t do that anyway, so it doesn’t bother me,” said 77 Complex resident Tim Bursey.

Abode Management did not return KING 5’s calls for comment.

Hillary Bricken, an attorney at Canna Law Group in Seattle, says the legality of the notice is like much of the marijuana law itself – unclear.

She says whether apartment management can legally enforce such a clause is likely a matter that the courts or the legislature would have to decide.

Aversano and his girlfriend say they’re not signing the lease amendment and will wait to see what happens.

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