Is it legal to smoke marijuana in your backyard? An attorney weighs in – The San Diego Union-Tribune

The Union-Tribune recently published a long story that explained what will happen on January 1st when the public can begin to buy recreational marijuana in licensed stores in San Diego.

The story generated a lot of questions from readers. We sought answers from Katherine McBroom, a partner at Kaedian, a Los Angeles-based law firm.

Q: People are allowed to consume marijuana in private areas. Does that include the outdoor areas of private property?

A: Smoking on private property, including in the backyard, is legal under state law — this will apply to marijuana as well.

Problems can arise with rental properties, however. Landlords can ban the smoking of marijuana, just as they can ban smoking in general. Additionally, in a multi-unit/family building, neighbors may complain to the landlord about the smell or use of marijuana (it’s still illegal under federal law and is a Schedule 1 drug).

This in turn could lead to a ban at a complex if one is not already in place, just to keep the peace. At which point a transgression or complaint could mean you are in breach of your rental contract, even if you do not face state criminal liability.

For those living in apartments, the best way to go (even in outdoor areas) is using a vape pen or other device that eliminates smoke and therefore the distinctive scent of marijuana. Edibles eliminate this issue altogether.

Q: What would happen if a Border Patrol agent found cannabis in a person’s car when they stopped at a place like the San Clemente Station checkpoint? If the person did not have more than one ounce of marijuana, and it was in a sealed container, would they be OK?

A: It is illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, even if marijuana is legal in

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