I live in an apartment building where lately the smell of smoke in my apartment has become evident, presumably coming through the bathroom exhaust fan duct. I don’t smoke, but I think at least some of the smoke is from marijuana.

Management prohibits smoking inside its buildings, but says smoking outside is OK as long as it’s at least 25 feet from building entrances. I know that under Michigan’s new recreational marijuana law, “public use” of marijuana is forbidden. So I wonder if people are smoking pot inside the apartment building because they fear if they smoke outside, they might be arrested.

So my question is: If someone smokes marijuana outside, but on the apartment grounds, which is private property, is that legal, or is it considered “public use” and hence illegal?

– Michael, from St. Joseph

This is a tough question with the new law just taking effect this past year. Don’t expect the streets to start filling with clouds of smoke because just like alcohol, it will be illegal to consume marijuana in public.

In addition, landlords, lease-holders and business owners can prohibit smoking marijuana on their premises. If you live on a college campus, don’t assume you can possess or consume marijuana in your dorm. Many universities have drug-free policies that will remain in place despite any change in state law.

By law, it is illegal to consume marijuana in a public space, punishable by a civil infraction. However, it’s unclear what is meant by a “public place,” and there is likely to be clearer guidance in the future as cases make their way through the courts. I would recommend, if you smoke marijuana, do it in a private area that allows it.