New Pennsylvania Bill Would Provide Tenant Protections to Medical Marijuana Patients

Legislation filed today in Pennsylvania would give explicit legal protections to renters who use medical marijuana.

House Bill 985 was filed by State Representative Christopher Rabb along with nine cosponsors, all Democrat. The measure states that “No landlord may evict, threaten to evict or otherwise discriminate against a residential tenant for the lawful usage or possession of medical marijuana if the tenant is certified to use medical marijuana.”

The measure clarifies that the law “applies to a tenant who resides in public housing or publicly subsidized housing and is certified to use medical marijuana.”

Furthermore, the proposal states that a tenant “who alleges a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for appropriate injunctive relief or damages, or both, within 180 days after the occurrence of the alleged violation.”

The text of the bill notes that “It shall be a defense to an action under this section if a landlord proves, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the action by the landlord occurred for separate and legitimate reasons which are not merely pretextual.”

In rendering a judgment in an action brought under this subsection, “a court may order any relief the court considers appropriate. The court may also award the tenant all or a portion of the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees, if the tenant prevails in the civil action.”

House Bill 985 has been assigned to the Housing and Community Development Committee. You can find its full text by clicking here.

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