Lawyer Mark Weisleder says that after giving several seminars about the new Cannabis Act, “It seems to me that most are fearing the worst, instead of just working towards common sense solutions that will benefit everyone.” Watch his video or read the article.
I have now given more than 30 seminars about the new Cannabis Act to real estate brokerages, real estate boards and landlord groups. I have interviewed medical cannabis users and growers and spoken to condominium lawyers and insurers. It seems to me that most are fearing the worst, instead of just working towards common sense solutions that will benefit everyone.
Here are six things you need to know:
1. Why do people have to grow cannabis when they can buy it now legally?
The fact is that if you grow the cannabis plant safely and economically, it can cost a fraction of the retail price of a gram of cannabis. For those who have a medical prescription that requires several grams of cannabis per day, growing can actually save thousands of dollars per year.
2. Can condominium boards ban the use or growing of cannabis in a condominium building?
Lawyers will be paid a lot of money to ultimately decide this as a result of human rights and constitutional law issues. This has not stopped countless condominium boards from already implementing rules banning all smoking, grandfathering only those who smoked cigarettes before the rule, and banning any growing of any cannabis plant. Other condominium boards are doing nothing right now and will just step in if one unit owner starts smoking cannabis and bothers their neighbours or damages the unit as a result of growing. This is similar to stepping in if you have wild parties in your unit and it bothers your neighbours.
3. How are condominium boards handling unit owners who have a medical prescription for cannabis?
Here it gets interesting. The boards will permit someone who has a medical prescription to smoke or grow cannabis provided they ensure that all the smoke, odours and moisture generated is kept inside their unit, so as not to bother anyone in the hallways or in neighbouring units or damage the walls with mould.
4. Can you stop a tenant from smoking cannabis or growing cannabis plants?
Even though it is legal to smoke or grow cannabis, you can include a clause in a lease to stop any tenant from smoking or growing cannabis on the premises. This should be inserted into every lease. I have created these clauses that are available in my own Ontario Guide for Landlords. If the tenant then smokes, it will be easier to evict them. But you will still have to prove that the tenant is either bothering other tenants or damaging the property.
5. What is going on with the insurance industry?
Some insurers are threatening to cancel coverage if cannabis plants are grown on the property. This is complete over reacting, since it ignores the fact that we are not talking about a grow house operation and cannabis can be grown safely.
6. It is possible to smoke or grow cannabis safely in an apartment or home without bothering a neighbour or damaging the property?
This is the key point. The answer is yes. If you smoke cannabis using a vaping pen, you can virtually eliminate the smoke and odour. If you use a bong, which operates like a pipe when smoking tobacco, you reduce the odour when you inhale and if you use a device called a “smoke buddy” when you exhale, you again reduce the smoke and the odour. Supplementing this with air fresheners will also assist with eliminating the nuisance altogether.
You can also now buy a special “grow tent” for about $500, that is two feet by two feet and about five-feet high. It just plugs into the wall, absorbs the moisture from the plants and emits warm air into the apartment. No odours and no moisture if set up properly. You grow the plants three-feet high, harvest them and then grow again.
As you can see, this is what the solution must be. Tenants should be able to smoke under the new law, but they must make sure they are doing it in a way that does not bother anyone else, and if they must have an actual marijuana cigarette, just go outside. And if you are going to grow any plant, be upfront and show the landlord how you are doing it safely. This should satisfy not only the landlord, but also any condominium board or insurer who has concerns.
Maybe if you are over-stressed about all of this, just take a puff and relax. It will all work out.