Canada's Condominium Magazine

Marijuana Legalization Update Part 1: Respecting Your Neighbours, Growing at Home and Other Updates

The Cannabis Act has officially passed, and Canadians will be permitted to buy and consume the substance for recreational purposes on October 17th — although condo boards, property managers and provincial governments have the discretion to limit use or growth of Marijuana. The federal government will also issue licenses to individuals intending to grow and sell marijuana seeds and products. Canadians will be able to grow marijuana for personal use beginning July 1st.

However, chances are good that your condo bylaws have been (or will be) updated to prohibit or restrict growth and use of Marijuana for recreational purposes. This is due to concerns about smoke, smell, health, children, and maintenance. Before you buy your pots (pun intended), check your bylaws. Even if the bylaws haven’t been ammended, it is best to check with management and your neighbours.

 

Marijuana becomes legal in Canada Oct 17, 2018, for those over 18 years of age, with some restrictions. Condo communities likely will have major restrictions incorporated into bylaws. Smoking bylaws (even where Marijuana is not identified) cover Cannabis, and many condos are rushing to restrict recreational growth and use in condos due to issues with smell, maintenance, smoke and common enjoyment for all owners and tenants.

 

Only adults aged 18 and older will be able to buy or use the substance, you may only possess up to a single ounce, and edibles are still prohibited for another year to give the government time to regulate those as well.

The legislation has also left it up to provincial governments to more strictly regulate cannabis. Now that the Act has officially passed and speculation is no longer necessary, it is time to take another look at this legislation and what it means for you.

Marijuana Growth at Home and in Shared Spaces

Many have expressed harsh criticisms of the Cannabis Act, especially those living in condos. The primary reason for concern is that people living in shared spaces would be subject to offensive odours and other possible harmful effects as the substance are shared and have the potential to fall into the wrong hands.

However, provincial governments, individual property managers, and condo boards are able to further restrict the substance as they choose. Their only limit is that they cannot be more lenient than the government. For instance, they can prohibit the growth and sale of cannabis within condo buildings, but they cannot raise the limit for how much one can possess.

 

Although the law allows for the home growth of marijuana under certain conditions, for those over 18 years of age, condo dwellers may be prohibited from growing in their condo units — by bylaws in their communities.

 

The Basics of Marijuana Growth in the Home

Many tenants are concerned about the growth of marijuana in their buildings and resulting issues, such as excess water usage, odours, and negative impact on health. Cannabis plants can grow to be tall and plentiful. For this reason, it is necessary for them to be planted in an are large enough to accommodate them. This may not be feasible in most condominiums, so tenants are not likely to have a problem with rampant marijuana growth in their building. This is good news for those worried about shared expenses.

If you are considering growing cannabis in your unit, then you will want to take great care in doing so. First, be sure that it does not violate any rules or regulations set by your building and condo board. While federal law has legalized the substance, many condominiums may prohibit it so as to maintain the value of the property as a whole and ensure the health and well-being of tenants.

 

One reason communities are rushing to ban marijuana for recreational use is the smoke issue. Even people who smoke on their balconies may be prohibited — in the same way as cigarettes might be (varies by community.)

 

Once you have cleared it, then you will need to do some research to make sure that you know how to properly plant and grow the plant, when to water, and how to care for the plant and make sure that it does not get out of control. Another major concern for those who grow marijuana in their homes is the potential for a powdery mildew to grow on the leaves. If not promptly handled, it can eat through the buds and leaves and ruin the harvest.

 

Respect for Neighbours in the Handling of Marijuana

Following the law and condo regulations regarding growth and maintenance of cannabis, possession and consumption, etc. is important, but so is maintaining a good relationship with your neighbours. Some may take issue with marijuana in the building, but if you handle the situation delicately, you can avoid any issues.

Regardless of the side you are on, you will want to handle the situation tactfully. If you are opposed to the substance and know that one of your neighbours will either be growing, selling, or using it, then approach them with your concerns. Doing so will open the door to polite conversation and perhaps the ability to come to a mutually-beneficial agreement.

If you are the one growing or using the substance, then you will want to put other tenants’ minds at ease so that they do not voice any complaints to management or take issue with you as a neighbour. Acknowledge their concerns and let them know how you are taking them into consideration.

Assure them that you have no intention of allowing the substance to fall into the wrong hands (a common worry amongst parents concerned about their minor children) and that you will use the substance in a way that will impact others as little as possible. In fact, although the substance has been legalized, the law still prohibits its use in ways that are detrimental to the health of others. The smoke cannot escape the home or unit into common areas or nearby units, for instance. However, that does not account for the odours, which may still escape.

Luckily, that does not have to be an issue either. While edibles are not yet permitted, there are other ways to enjoy marijuana without subjecting your neighbours to an unpleasant smell. For instance, smoking on the balcony would allow tenants to enjoy the substance without impacting their neighbours — although wind drift carries smells to other balconies and units, and many condos ban smoking on balconies as well. However, this is not a viable solution for those who live on the ground floor, as the smoke and odours would most certainly affect people walking or standing nearby.

Investing in products such as the Smoke Buddy and Ona can help as well. The Smoke Buddy eliminates unpleasant smells because the smoke is exhaled directly into it. Ona is beneficial because it neutralizes odours. Another helpful option is to light incense around the home, especially near the entryway, to mask the smell of cannabis whenever you smoke.

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