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What do Condo Owners Think of Marijuana Legalization?

The legalization of cannabis, and its expected impact on communities across the country, continue to be a hot topic. Seems like everyone has an opinion on it:

But what do condo dwellers think of it? Should condos be able to “regulate” the consumption and growing of cannabis in their complex? In this post, we share the results of our exclusive Condo Adviser survey on this question.

Federal level

The Cannabis Act, regulating possession and consumption of cannabis, was introduced in April 2017. The Senate passed the bill last March. While the implementation date is still a moving target, it is expected that, this fall, Canadians aged 18 years or more will be able to:

  • purchase cannabis product;
  • possess and share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis; and
  • grow up to 4 cannabis plants at home.

Provincial level

Provinces are responsible to look after the implementation and regulation surrounding the distribution and retail sale of cannabis. They have the authority to increase (but not decrease) the minimum age of possession and may impose additional restriction surrounding cultivation.  Finally, provinces can set additional restriction related to where cannabis can be consumed.

Ontario announced its framework for cannabis, restricting its consumption to private residences, setting the minimum purchase age at 19 and establishing a provincial retail model operated by a subsidiary of the LCBO.  By way of comparison, Quebec and Manitoba are prohibiting the growing of cannabis in private residences.

Municipal level

Provinces will be able to extend certain regulatory authorities to municipalities. For this reason, cities are also turning their minds to the question of cannabis legalization.

The City of Ottawa‘s Public Health Officer proposes prohibiting any form of cannabis smoking in condos, apartments and balconies in all multi-residential buildings.  The city of Toronto issued a full report on the question in Septembre 2017. The city of Calgary is recommending a ban on public consumption.  The city of Hampstead is moving to ban any form of smoking (tobacco or cannabis) on all streets, sidewalks and public parks.

What about condos?

So, this leaves us with the 4th level of government: condos. What can they doing about it?

There can be no doubt that condos can regulate the smoking and growing of cannabis on their property … even within units. This can be done through an amendment of the declaration or through the adoption of rules.  Indeed, condo boards can make rules that:

  • promote the safety, security or welfare of owners;
  • prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units or the common elements.

This ability to regulate activities within one’s own unit is not new. Think about other existing rules:

  • limiting or restricting the breed or size of pets;
  • prohibiting nuisance;
  • prohibiting the smoking of tobacco;
  • prohibiting BBQs on balconies;
  • …. even dictating the colour of your blinds.

Read more on the topic by downloading our Newsletter on tobacco and Cannabis in Condos.

Ultimately, the question behind any restrictions in condos comes down to what a specific community wants to see implemented at their condo corporation.  A good way to determine what will be acceptable to your condo community is to enter into a dialogue with owners or to conduct a survey.  This is exactly what we decided to do at the Condo Adviser!

What do condo dwellers think of condos regulating cannabis?

Last August, we launched a survey on cannabis in condos. Today, we share some of the results (as of the date of this post).

It is interesting to see that the vast majority of our respondents (87%) are of the view that condos should be able to regulate the consumption and growing of cannabis.

Also of interest, 79% of respondents support a full ban (with or without some exception for medical consumption).  On this, it is important to note that allowing exceptions for medicinal use is not an option.  Condominium corporations have a duty to accommodate bona fide disabilities, short of undue hardship.  But what constitutes a bona fide request for accommodation and how to deal with them is an entirely different post in and of itself.

So, what do you think of cannabis in condos? Take our survey and share your views.

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