By Penelope Graham

There’s been much huffing and puffing over the legalization of recreational marijuana, with various groups – including the real estate industry – calling for the federal government to postpone the roll out of legal pot consumption until clearer regulations are in place.

One of the most hotly contested issues is that of home pot cultivation; under the federal legislation, Canadians can grow up to four plants within private residences. This could lead to all sorts of unintended consequences, warns CREA, from physical damage to an unshakeable stigma that can devalue a home.



In addition to the potential for mould or electrical damage, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is concerned it will be increasingly difficult to disclose whether a home has been a marijuana grow site. And because there currently is no legal definition of what constitutes a grow-op (a full-scale operation or single potted plant could potentially be treated equally under the eye of the law), there is no official remediation standard to undo resulting damage. That can leave homeowners, sellers or buyers with little recourse should their home be blacklisted by a lender or insurer.

But are Canadian home buyers really bothered by the presence of legal pot?

According to new national survey data, when it comes to homes where pot has been puffed, buyers would rather pass. Nearly 47 per cent of 1,400 respondents across each province indicated they would think twice about purchasing a home where marijuana has been grown, even if it was within the legal limit.

Respondents from Quebec were most likely to not consider a home where pot had been present at 52 per cent (the provincial government has stated it will not allow at-home pot cultivation at all, though this could be contested at the federal level).

Forty-eight per cent of respondents from Ontario and British Columbia, where home cultivation will be allowed, indicated as such, followed by 47 per cent of those from Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Respondents from the Atlantic region were least likely to second-guess their home purchase, at 31 per cent.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondents also felt that increased marijuana use within a home would effectively decrease its value; Quebec again led respondents at 45 per cent, followed by Ontario, at 41 per cent. British Columbians and those from Manitoba/Saskatchewan both reported 37 per cent, followed by Albertans and those in the Atlantic provinces, at 31 and 26 per cent, respectively.

Thirty-two per cent of Canadians also indicated concern that living in close proximity to where legal marijuana is sold would negatively impact their property values.

As well, most respondents indicated they do not plan to grow their own marijuana at home, regardless of age group. While millennials are most likely to cultivate their own pot, at 19 per cent, 64 per cent indicated they would not, while 16 per cent remain unsure.

Seventy per cent of Gen Xers say they will not be using their green thumbs (14 per cent plan to grow, while 16 per cent aren’t sure). Boomers are the least likely, with 75 per cent indicating no, 14 per cent unsure and 11 per cent agreeing.

To address such concerns, real estate associations have made a variety of proposals to government to better provide clarity and protections for homeowners who may wish to cultivate pot, or purchase one where it has been grown.

In April, OREA brought forth a five-point Action Plan for Cannabis Legalization, which included a call for an established remediation standard. It would require a grow home’s status to be placed on title until required repairs are made, as well as improved standards for home inspectors. OREA also proposed reducing the legal limit of plants from four to one in multi-residential units smaller than 1,000 square feet.

CREA has taken it a step further and called for the federal government to hold off on allowing indoor grows altogether “until the government can enact rules and regulations for the entire country”.

Barb Sukkau, CREA’s president, laid out the association’s concerns in a statement. “We’ve heard from homeowners and tenants across the country who are worried about living beside grow-ops,” she said. “What does this do to their home values? Will this increase their rent? How safe will their kids be? Will their quality of life diminish because of the prevalence of drugs in their neighbourhood?”

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9 COMMENTS

    • Exactly Fayaz.

      Just remember how you felt when/if you bought a used car from what turned out to be a smoker, and you will know what it will feel like when you buy what turns out to be a residential grow-op from a druggie…a left-over from someone else’s filthy addiction. Yuuuuuck! Reminds one of the seedy motel syndrome, does it not?

  1. That is quite pejorative. Accusations like that deserve proof. Could you reply with actuarial statistics to prove you point? I think that alcohol being a central motor depressant would actuarially speaking cause more fire accidents than marijuana which is not a central motor Depressant.Tobacco I believe would cause more fire accidents by sheer volume of plant matter ingested. Notwithstanding I look forward to your proof.

  2. A year from now every second house we list will have some pot growing in it. I look forward to that day because we will have taken an important step towards securing our freedom and that of future generations. The prison industrial complex – which is the truly evil plant will be pruned by nine tenths. Of all people Realtors should hold in trust the concept that “a persons home is their castle”

    There will be no more police shooting dogs, breaking down doors, tossing flash stun grenades in to marijuana users homes to prevent the disposal of evidence. 50,000 Canadians will not get life time criminal records every year. There will be a revenue stream for education and health care instead hot cars and money laundering for those involved in the black market.

    In a truly free society there is no war on users of vegetables. This summer millions of Canadians will whip open thier screen doors, step out on the porch and light up. Ten years from now no one will remember the viciousness with which citizens were treated in regards to a plant that is a cancer and tumour anagonist, mild pain killer, relaxant, and soporific.

    What marijuana prohibitionists have done was horrific. They should be ashamed that they allowed this fascist chimera to exist for so long.

    So here is to freedom and all the activists that have worked tirelessly to bring this war to and end.

    • Hi Richard:

      On roadways where the speed limit is 50, 80 or 100 km. per hour, how many drive 50, 80 or 100 or less do you think? Almost everyone pushes the limits, including me sometimes…and maybe even you as well. Do you really think that pot heads will follow the law and stop at 4 plants when there is money to be made via a new cottage industry? Recent studies in the USA have shown that states wherein pot has been legalized for leisure consumption have not only not undermined the drug cartels and dealers, but that conversely they are flourishing. Gee, I wonder why? Like…maybe because it’s not illegal any more? Only pot head-fuelled politicians can get things ass-backward.

      The fishies are out of the pond, and they are stoned to the gills.

  3. BLOW”N SMOKE… Ya .. “smoke em if ya got em” … just be aware of the consequences.

    Seems we have not learned much from the tobacco industry.

    A much higher percentage of my home buyer clients than any number quoted in the article would not buy a tobacco smokers house. Regardless of source, pot or tobacco, it is called smoke damage.

    In addition to smoke damage, pot growing could increase moisture related damage.

    There are no remediation standards for tobacco smoke damage so it is unlikely that there will be standards for pot related damage.

    it is unlikely that anyone inclined and set up to grow pot will stop at one plant.

    This is a nice debate topic and intellectual exercise but it is tough to talk logically when tax dollars “Trump” citizen wellbeing.

    • I really feel sorry for the children who live in these pot head smokers’ paradises as their immature brains become fogged up with second-hand pot smoke during their younger years when their developing brains are most susceptible to the harmful effects of mommy’s and daddy’s loony drug habits. Can everyone spell “child abuse”?

  4. Western civilization is definitely going to pot. Almost fifty percent of respondents to the pot questions posed would think twice about buying a former residential grow-op of any description. The rest must therefore be pot heads, potential pot heads or pot head enablers.

    “Hey man…like…gettin’ stoned is the new norm man. What? The house is on fire? Where’s the door man? Shit…I can’t see for smoke! The smoke is choking me man! My brain is getting even duller! Burning house smoke sucks man! “Lizabeth…it’s the big one! ‘Lizabet! “Lizabeth! Call me a cab!…I mean…a ambuulaance!’ “Lizaaaabettttthhhhhhhh………….Everthin’s fadin’ ta blaaaaaaack…………………… Hey man…got a light?”

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