Can You Legally Store Weed in a Storage Unit?

Jon Fesmire | Apr 24, 2018 @ 08:00 AM

Attitudes and laws around marijuana are rapidly evolving. From decriminalization to legalized medical marijuana to recreational marijuana, it can be hard to keep up with what’s legal where. As of 2018, 30 states and the District of Columbia allow some type of legalized cannabis.

If you’re living in one of these states and you’re renting a storage unit, you might be wondering if you can legally store weed inside. We talked to self storage operators to find out the answer.

The Simple Answer

In states where marijuana has been legalized, it does appear that keeping some in your self storage unit is legal. That’s the simple answer, but it’s not the entire answer.

Federal Law

Many states have legalized marijuana. Still, marijuana is currently illegal on the federal level. While President Obama stopped the federal government from raiding dispensaries in states that have made it legal, the Trump administration could start raids again.

Most storage facilities prohibit tenants from storing marijuana in their units in order to comply with federal law. Since federal law says weed is illegal, most facility managers do not allow it to be stored in their units.

The concern is that raids could start again, and if someone suspects weed is stored in a unit, and reports it, the facility would be at fault.

Facility Rules

Storage facilities offer a service, and that service is to allow people to store most items safely. However, they have the right to restrict what is stored.

The average self storage lease prohibits the storage of food, live plants, live animals and flammable items. While some will allow firearms to be stored, ammunition is always disallowed.

Most facilities in legal marijuana states also prohibit weed storage.

The Smell

Marijuana has a strong smell. This is the other major reason that most facilities will not allow it to be stored within their walls.

That smell could turn off potential tenants. Remember, not everyone approves of marijuana legalization, and even those who do don’t necessarily want to smell it when they visit their storage units. Additionally, many storage facilities prohibit tenants from storing any items with a strong odor, as this could potentially attract pests.

What About Edibles and Tinctures?

There are forms of cannabis that don’t necessarily smell, specifically edibles and tinctures. Edibles are food items with cannabis inside. They can be packaged in airtight containers so they don’t attract pests. A tincture is a liquid form of a product, generally cannabis extracts blended with something like alcohol or vegetable oil.

Because of federal laws, chances are, your local storage facility will prohibit storing these as well. Though many of these items may bypass the smell issue, you can always ask, but expect the answer to be “no.”

Things may change once federal law catches up to state laws, however, the smell issue and tenant attitudes against it will persist for a long time. Bottom line? Don’t store marijuana in a storage unit if you live in a state where it’s illegal to possess, and if you do live in a state with some form of legalized weed, ask your storage facility manager before storing.