With the upcoming legalization of marijuana in Canada, many condominium corporations are taking steps to implement rules to control the smoking of marijuana in condominium buildings and prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana within condominium units.
The Ontario Real Estate Association (“OREA”) has expressed concerns about the cultivation of marijuana in residential properties (condominium buildings included). As we reported in a prior blog post, it will soon be legal for individuals to grow up to four marijuana plants per household for personal use whether it is a 400 square ft. unit or a 1200 square ft. unit.
OREA as well as condominium managers, directors and lawyers fear that there will be no way for the government to enforce these limits. Furthermore, those with a licence to grow medical marijuana will be able to grow more than four plants, depending on how many grams of marijuana they have been prescribed. Based on information obtained from Health Canada, there are approximately 130,000 people in Canada with medical marijuana prescriptions and approximately 29,000 of those users have a licence to grow their own plants. OREA estimates that some medical marijuana users will be able to grow 20 plants.
OREA is concerned that even small-scale marijuana cultivation poses health and safety risks, such as mould and fungi, structural damage and the release of dangerous chemicals. Currently there is no way to protect consumers from unwittingly buying a residential property that was previously used as a grow-op. In conducting its research, OREA also looked at the experience of other jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana. OREA anticipates that the legalization of marijuana will not eliminate the illegal marijuana market and the participation of organized crime.
OREA has created a dedicated website, www.protectontariohomes.ca that sets out the potential problems with the cultivation of marijuana in residential properties, together with an action plan to address its concerns. There are five recommendations:
- designate homes formerly used as illegal grow-ops, as unsafe under the Ontario Building Code;
- once a former illegal grow-op has been designated as unsafe, require that it be inspected by a municipal building official to determine what actions are needed to make the property safe according to mandatory minimum remediation standards;
- require municipalities to register remediation work orders on the title of a former grow-ops;
- require all licensed home inspectors to receive training on how to spot the signs of a former marijuana grow-op;
- restrict the number of plants per household in units consisting of less than 1,000 square feet to one plant.
OREA is encouraging consumers who agree with OREA’s concerns and recommendations to contact their Member of Parliament.
Now is the time for condominium corporations to pass rules restricting marijuana use and the cultivation of marijuana in condominium units and to lend their support to OREA’s efforts.