I have a Labor Day gift for you…

I wanted to offer you something that providers have been knocking on my door for… a cannabis and marijuana policy specifically written for adult family homes.

I’ve searched high and low in hopes of finding a comprehensive policy to address the use of marijuana and cannabis products in my adult family home. But I came up short… most policies I found contained only bits and pieces of what I felt was necessary, but no procedures for managing residents, usage or storage.

So, after having spent hours scouring and researching rules, regulations and examples, I decided to write my own from scratch – and give you access to it, free of charge :-).

Here are some highlights about marijuana usage in adult family homes.

Even though having an AFH Policy for Marijuana isn’t technically required at this time, it’s a good idea to have one in place regardless.

Residents in AFHs have the right to choose their preferred social and recreational activities, which includes using marijuana and cannabis products.

Without a marijuana policy in place stating that your adult family home does NOT allow the use of cannabis, you’ll have to allow it in order not to violate a resident’s right.

If you assume or have a general understanding with your residents that your AFH is a cannabis-free home, without a signed “no marijuana or cannabis allowed” policy, you could be cited for violating resident rights.

If you do allow the use of cannabis and marijuana in your AFH, then having the policy in place now will clarify the procedures and requirements that are needed. It will allow you to easily inform your current and prospective residents, and you’ll know exactly how to deal with family requests, and with what YOU have to do.

If you allow cannabis usage but did not create a policy clarifying the rules, you could receive complaints from residents who are offended about cannabis being used in your AFH, and accuse that they never agreed to be exposed to cannabis in your AFH.

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Joseph Spada
Joseph Spada

Adult Family Home Consultant, geriatric nurse, owner of Spada Care Homes, Ohana Hale Senior Living, and Savanna Healthcare; DSHS instructor of the AFH Administrator Training; speaker; author.

    5 replies to "AFH Policy for Marijuana Usage"

    • Susan

      Hi, my mom used to live with us and she used smoked Cannabis for her acute and chronic pain after having 26 surgeries. But, 24 hour care costs a lot and we had to transfer her to a family care home. She was required to switch to a vape Cannabis. She is not doing well at her current family home (it’s complicated) so we are looking for a new living arrangement. It seems difficult to find homes that will allow for legal Cannibis vaping. It seems like no one knows how to deal with this. Is sounds like though if any resident within the home is using medicaid, that Cannabis vape is not allowed. Is that how you understand it as well? Thanks

      • Joseph Spada

        Hello Susan; I’m sorry to hear about the challenges you and your mom are facing.

        Smoking or Vaping: Policies on cannabis use, including vaping, are discretionary, so they vary by facility. Some homes/facilities do allow smoking or vaping, perhaps outside or in designated areas.

        Cannabis Products and Medicaid: While federal law does not permit Medicaid funds to purchase cannabis, this does not inherently prohibit its use within a facility. The complication is the product purchase with federal funding. That said, there are no federal laws that prevent a third party from purchasing cannabis for a Medicaid recipient.

        Resident Rights: In Washington, residents do have the right to self-determination, including treatment, care, or the consumption of substances like alcohol, tobacco, or medically prescribed cannabis, especially if supported by a doctor’s recommendation. Be sure her primary doctor provides a clear endorsement or prescription to aid in securing her rights within the facility.

        I hope this helps, and best of luck in finding an accommodating living situation for your mom. Joseph

    • Christiesaywers@gmail.com

      Are we still able to get a copy of you canibis policy?
      We all canibis/edible use.
      Are we in violation if we don’t have a policy.
      For 2022 ?

      • Joseph Spada

        If you operate an AFH in Washington and allow the use of cannabis products for residents, you should have a policy in place that describes the parameters and rules for usage so everyone can abide by it. Unfortunately, this policy is no longer available for download – I’ll fix the page and post.

    • Sally Webster

      Thanks for your sharing.

      We have a policy that says no to all forms of cannabis which must be signed. We also are a smoke free home which includes residents, visitors and staff.

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