HB1503 makes explicit a policy that is already in keeping with the state’s fair housing laws. It will help keep medical cannabis patients from being accidentally discriminated against because of the ambiguity in the current law.
While the new draft of the bill is limited, it is still a step in the right direction and will help many people who face discrimination in the state of Hawaii.
This bill does not confer upon renters any rights that they do not already have under the state’s fair housing laws.
- Fair housing law identifies as a discriminatory practice: “To refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when the accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a housing accommodation.”
- Therefore, this bill serves only to clarify this point for both landlords and tenants, and to avoid confusion that may result in people being made, unfairly, to choose between using their medicine and having a place to live.
- This bill does not limit a landlord’s ability to protect his/her property from smoke damage, because it provides that if a provision disallows smoking tobacco, smoked use of medical cannabis is not protected.
This bill helps everyone.
- It helps renters to know that they are protected in their legal use of medical marijuana for debilitation conditions.
- It helps landlords to avoid a situation wherein they unknowingly engage in discriminatory housing practices. Many rental contracts have clauses banning the use of illegal drugs, and landlords sometimes use these provisions to evict, or threaten to evict their tenants on the basis of their legal use of marijuana.
- It will save time and money because renters will not have to seek redress for individual cases from the Civil Rights Commission.
Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor
Senator Clayton Hee, Chair
Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro, Vice Chair
Friday, March 28, 2014
Conference Room 016
415 South Beretania Street
Support – HB1503– Relating to the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code