With the upcoming legalization of marijuana on October 17, 2018, many condominium corporations have enacted rules that prohibit the use and/or cultivation of marijuana on the condominium property, including the units. But in other condominiums, owners are welcoming the freedom to legally consume marijuana in their units.
It was recently reported in the media that in one Mississauga condominium, a majority of the owners voted against approving a proposed rule that would prohibit the use of marijuana on the condominium property. That has created a potentially life-threatening crisis for one of the owners, Adele Schroder, who has a severe allergy to marijuana and who we currently represent. The smell of marijuana smoke wafting into the common elements or permeating into her unit could cause her to go into anaphylactic shock, which is potentially fatal.
As we reported in a prior blog post, the Ontario Human Rights Code has priority over the condominium declaration and rules. Condominium corporations are required to make reasonable accommodation up to the point of undue hardship for residents with disabilities. While the condominium corporation has a duty to accommodate the owner’s marijuana allergy, the issue has become more complex, as there are residents in the condominium that are users of medical marijuana. Those residents also need to be accommodated to the point of undue hardship.
This condominium has a very challenging situation on its hands – it needs to balance the needs of the owner with the life-threatening allergy to marijuana with those that need to smoke marijuana for medical reasons. Because of the potentially fatal marijuana allergy, that Adele has little, if any, room to offer a compromise. (Unfortunately, the dangers for the owner may be intensified if the recent shortage of Epi-Pens in Canada continues.) The condominium President told the media that the corporation is considering several options: making structural changes to the building to prevent marijuana smoke from permeating into the common elements and other units; banning the smoking of marijuana on the floor where the allergic owner lives, as well as the floors directly above and below; and exploring whether the medical marijuana users can use marijuana oils or edible products instead of smoking.
One thing is clear, Adele does not have a choice. She is not doing anything which interferes with other residents and she has nowhere to go. Those owners who may be smoking marijuana for medicinal reasons still have the responsibility to ensure that their actions do not create harm and in this case, a potential life threatening situation.