By Mark Weisleder

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.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Mark’s advice is great…for those who regularly adhere to the law. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. People whose habits (addictions even) are being curtailed by rules and regulations do not always make good followers of the law. Resentment is born of a selfish short-term need to have one’s way no matter what others experience or think.

    Resentment begets negativity. Negativity begets actions against rules and regulations. Negative actions beget disharmony amongst the local, affected, population. Disharmony begets legal action. Legal action begets divisiveness. Divisiveness begets warring factions. Warring factions beget full blown public upheaval. Public upheaval begets a breakdown of civility. A breakdown of civility begets a breakdown of societal values. A breakdown of societal values begets a breakdown of the polity…and the polity fractures. All-for-one and one-for-all goes out the window with the illegal puffs of smoke. Selfishness wins, and that is a loss for us all.

    Most tobacco smokers realize that smoking is bad for their health, and thus they obey the rules. But most pot heads think the opposite, and that is the problem…which is why I believe that there will be a rebellion against “No Smoking” (of the pot kind) rules and regulations.

  2. Monica Kees, I think you need to read the article again. This time with a fresh perspective and better focus. It is an excellent article and offers good sound advice.
    Cooler heads do prevail.

    • I’ve read it several times and my perspective remains unchanged. Air fresheners, bongs and grow tents do not eliminate smell and mould. As professional realtors, many of us have personally dealt with renters who can’t find rent money, but always seem to have money for their weed. Tenants who smoke in units even thought the lease forbids it etc.damaging the house and driving out other good tenants. These tenants cost their landlords thousands of dollars in damage to their investment properties and loss of rental income intended to cover their mortgage payments. Some landlords are so beaten, they feel their only resort is to sell their rental home. Please keep in mind that not all landlords own apartment buildings. Many have “registered”up/down detached homes that are rented out. If there are any PROFESSIONAL REALTORS reading this who would would like sound advice to help represent their LANDLORD CLIENTS, you can read this other article published on remonline.com: https://www.remonline.com/cannabis-legalization-and-renters/ It was written by Christopher Seepe. There are some excellent clauses you can incorporate into Ontario’s new Standard Lease Agreement (SLA) which includes a section about smoking. This section empowers a landlord to use a breach of a no-smoking clause in a rental agreement as grounds for eviction.

      Chris Seepe is a published writer and author, ‘landlording’ course instructor, president of the Landlords Association of Durham, and a commercial real estate broker of record at Aztech Realty in Toronto, specializing in income-generating and multi-residential investment properties. Call (416) 525-1558, send him an email, or visit his website.

      This is a SERIOUS issue isn’t going to go away by “taking a puff”. When you sober up; the unsolved issue will still be sitting right in front of you. We need legislature that protects landlords and non-smoking tenants.

  3. Well, Mr. Weisleder may very well own a rental property (or more than one). He seems like a rational person who isn’t alarmist about these things. When there are cool heads, things usually do work out. It’s understandable to be worried, but by making tenants follow the procedure Mr. Weisleder outlines, will minimize the problems.

  4. “Maybe if you are over-stressed about all of this, just take a puff and relax. It will all work out” ?? Are you kidding me? This flippant and blasé comment coming from a lawyer? He obviously doesn’t own a rental property. I do; and it’s the biggest investment in my retirement portfolio. I am extremely worried about a tenant destroying it with mould and disrupting the other tenant and their children with the smoke. The bad tenant always drives the good tenant away. Does he have any idea how difficult it is to get rid of a bad tenant? The lack of protection that landlords have has discouraged many investors and I believe it is one reason we have such a rental shortage in this country right now. We should have the right to protect our investments-period.

    • I concur with you Monica. End of this article is flippant and blasé. I also concur with the difficulty to get rid of a bad tenant and this just makes it worse.

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