Nuisance abatement laws, codified at the state or local level, allow municipalities to fine landlords who allow “nuisances” on their properties. It was intended to curb violence and repeat police responses to the same location. However, it’s reportedly having a negative effect on those who use marijuana.
The Washington Post recently reported on the issue, beginning with the case of a D.C. law firm employee who, after eight years renting a residence on a quiet street in the Northeast section of the city, was evicted over the discovery of a marijuana joint. The report indicates the woman’s adult son – who had not lived with her for years – was arrested for possession of a firearm outside of a popular nightclub. Two weeks later, D.C. police officers raided her home, looking for more drugs. They didn’t find any when they stormed the home as she and her husband were helping her 8-year-old with his homework. However, they did find three cigarettes – one of them reportedly containing marijuana. No one was arrested or charged.
However, it was just a week later that the attorney general’s office in D.C. labeled the home a drug-related nuisance in a letter fired off to her landlord. That letter cited a nuisance abatement law passed in 1999 that grants the city broad power to prevail in civil lawsuits against landlords that don’t halt illegal actions on their properties. In response, the landlord evicted his tenant. Continue reading