Arizona Republic: “A loophole in the state’s new medical-marijuana law could open thousands of neighborhood parks, playgrounds, greenbelts and artificial lakes to resident joint smokers, legal experts [the reporter quotes non-lawyer Alan Sobol] say. The law approved by Arizona voters in November prohibits marijuana smoking “in any public place,” but properties controlled by homeowners associations are considered private property.”
My opinion is this story is much ado about nothing written by a reporter who does not understand the difference between a “public place” and “private property.” Yes, homeowners associations’ common areas are on private property, but that does not mean that the common areas are not public places. Certainly the common areas are used by a restricted segment of the population, but nevertheless, the common areas are public places as to the members of the association and their invitees. An Arizona court could rule in the future that common areas of an HOA are not public places for the purposes of Arizona’s medical marijuana law, but I doubt a court would come to that conclusion.