Landlords have thronged to a popular Facebook page for property investors to debate how they plan to treat tenants using cannabis if the drug is legalised following next year's referendum.

The group, Property Investors Chat Group NZ, has over 20,000 members and regularly plays hosts to discussions about tenant behaviour and landlord's rights and responsibilities.

The response was mixed with most seeing the proposed change as a net positive, noting that tenants would be "chilled out" and "happy" with one landlord offering that she would "rather have stoners than alcoholics".

Others compared the consumption of cannabis to meth, raising the recent controversy over meth testing of rental properties:

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"Having had one low-level meth test in my rental I think I'd consider a recreational dope smoker to be a blessing," said another investor.

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Another political hot-button issue loomed large in the debate with one group member humorously adding that property investors could "use their capital gains to buy weed."

Practical advice was also offered as landlords were told to treat cannabis smokers exactly as they would tobacco smokers and ask them to only smoke outside, with another man adding that group members would need to buy more smoke alarms and check their insurance policies.

Not all shared in the positive outlook however, with others saying that landlords should expect more late rent payments and that "losers attract losers."

Landlords warned of potential damage caused by cannabis use. Photo / Getty
Landlords warned of potential damage caused by cannabis use. Photo / Getty

One group members issued a stark warning to landlords, telling them to expect "broken elements, burn marks in the carpets, brown curtains from the resin", although others were quick to counter that "adults don't use it this way."

One man with a foot in each camp added that he smokes cannabis, holds down a job and owns his own home. He advised others to "get off your high horse sit on the couch and spark up."

Key points:

• The vote in 2020 will be around support for a draft bill that outlines a regulatory framework for legalising cannabis for recreational use

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• A key question is whether you think the status quo is better at reducing cannabis-related harm than the proposed framework

• A lot will depend on the finer details of the framework, including the level of boost for health services, and how well it would be implemented

• Opponents say legalisation will increase availability, use and harm, including brain development for young people or an increased risk of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia

• Proponents say the right level of regulation would weaken the black market and cripple the gangs, generate funding for improved health services, and enable users to know what they are taking

• Several jurisdictions overseas have legalised cannabis, including Uruguay, Canada and 10 states in the US. Studies on the impact of legalisation have mixed results, and care should be taken as each jurisdiction has different frameworks and its own cultural and social context.