Marijuana will be legal for recreational use on October 17th. After a lengthy consultation period, and a blown deadline of July 1st. We thought this Trudeau election promise would go the way of electoral reform (hey, remember that???). But thankfully, you’ll soon be able to smoke pot with impunity!

That is, if you can find legal weed anywhere in Ontario on the 17th…

The new provincial government has promised private sale as of April 1st, 2019, (Is Doug Ford trolling us with that date?). Until then, you have to buy it online via the Ontario Cannabis Store website (which we assume will crash), and have it delivered by Canada Post.  

Here are the basic rules that govern what you can/can’t do in your Toronto House or Condo.

  1. Be 19+ to purchase, grow, possess or use it.
  2. Able to possess a total of 30 grams at one time.
  3. You can grow up to four plants at home.
  4. Free to light up in a private residence, outdoor public space, or in a parked vehicle. (Don’t smoke and drive, idiot)
  5. Herb and oils will be available via the Ontario Cannabis Store on the 17th, but edibles and concentrates (dabs) will still be illegal until at least April.

Legal marijuana is  much like alcohol and cigarettes, in that you must be 19+ to purchase, grow or consume it.

The laws of consumption align with tobacco outlined in the Smoke-free Ontario act. You are free to light up in a private home, public outdoor spaces such as parks and in a vehicle (as long as it’s parked. Don’t smoke and drive, dummy).  

Where things can get very tricky is in a condo…

Per the law, condo owners can smoke within their own unit. But not in common areas, which usually includes balconies. Also, there is a caveat that states,

“Additional restrictions on smoking and vaping may exist in municipal bylaws, lease agreements, and the policies of employers and property owners.”

We have seen condo boards and landlords race to create new rules banning the use and cultivation of cannabis. In some very rare instances, even the deliveries of legal weed to a building. Like Goldview Property Management, the company that runs OneEleven Condos on King West has recently done. 

What you need to know if you live in a condo

  1. You’re bound by the rules set out by your condo corporation.
  2. You can challenge a rule that you feel is discriminatory.
  3. Have a concierge? They are not allowed to sign for your weed packages.
  4. If you smoke in your unit, or in a common area against the rules of your condo corporation, you can be fined.
  5. If you’re a renter, your lease may have stricter rules than the condo corporation of your building.

We decided to reach out to friend of the Spring Team, and Chief Visionary Officer at ICC Property Management, Steven Christodoulou. Steven was kind enough to answer a few questions for us! Keep reading.

Why are condo boards rushing to put a blanket ban on consumption of marijuana, when existing ‘nuisance’ rules that are already in place have been policing these sorts of issues previously?

“Existing Nuisance Rules are too broad and are not specific enough to deal with any issues with respect to marijuana use or even the allowable growing of 4 plants per household.  

We are suggesting to our clients to have an absolute prohibition of smoking in the units and on the property. This includes the smoking of cigarettes and/or vaping as well. As such, condominium corporations are not necessarily discriminating between tobacco and cannabis.  

Just the fact that smoke emanating to other units may be a nuisance to another resident who has a reasonable expectation that (within reason) their rights are not infringed upon.

We are also suggesting a prohibition on the growing of cannabis in the units.  The growing of cannabis leads to other issues, such as an increase in utility costs which in many condominiums is a common expense.  Growing cannabis requires additional hydro, water and the suite to be heated at a temperature higher than normal. Depending on the circumstances, may also cause mould growth within the unit.”

What will enforcement of a rule like this look like?

“In order to enforce any rule, the rule must be reasonable.  These new rules will be enforced in the same manner as any existing rule and a homeowner/resident has a duty to abide by these rules in accordance with the condominium corporation’s documents.  

Rule enforcement starts with notifying the resident of their infraction and/or alleged nuisance. Allowing for rectifying the situation or time to respond and then potentially mediation or legal action against the resident.”

Medicinal use will be protected (per human rights laws) but medical users will have to disclose + provide proof. How will a condo corporation ensure they’re able to protect residents sensitive medical data under Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)?  

“As a property management company, we have a privacy policy in accordance with PIPEDA.  Any additional health information would be kept in the same manner as their personal and banking information that we currently hold.”

Is a blanket (non-medical) ban on consumption/cultivation opening up a condo board to a human rights/discrimination complaint? Especially if cigarette smoking is allowed in their suite.

I would imagine that residents would be looking to human rights to make a complaint.  But what about the human rights of the non-smoker?? Do they not have a right to breathe clean air??  Notwithstanding this, even if there is a ban on smoking within the unit or common element, this does not preclude the resident from using oils or edible products for medicinal purposes.  I believe that this is a creative solution that would make everyone happy.

There has also been some discussion about having designated “smoking” locations on the property while the rest of the property remains smoke free.

Thank you for your time, Steven!

This conversation got us thinking about the complexities of condo living, and what might be a reasonable trade-off when buying a condo.

Why should someone have to disclose their medical marijuana use to their neighbours? You don’t have to disclose if you take Viagra.

Condo boards will cite exiting ‘nuisance’ rules regarding the smell of pot in a condo, but if you’ve got paper thin walls, and a neighbour with a 4 hour erection, you could argue that the ‘nuisance’ rule can be applied pretty broadly.

The most vocal objections to marijuana rules come from owners who ask, why is my condo making more rules governing what I can and can’t do in my own home? It’s marijuana today, what’s next? Banning anything outright paves the way for overreach, as condos with one or two very vocal tenants, and a reactionary board can have a negative impact on a pretty large group of people. This reminds us of a Toronto condo that added a $15 monthly fee for pet owners , or one in BC that banned children playing outside

What you need to know if you live in a house?

  1. You have more rights than a condo dweller, as you can smoke in your own back or front yard.
  2. You are still only able to grow 4 plants per dwelling, not per resident.
  3. If you choose to grow your own, we recommend looking into a fully enclosed unit with a filter to ensure you don’t have to deal with smells, mold and bugs.
  4. Canada Post will not leave your weed drop on the porch (for good reason)
  5. If you have a tenant in your house, or are a tenant in your house, make sure your lease agreement spells out consumption and cultivation rules that work for you.

Thinking about buying a house to avoid all this drama? Well, be sure you do your research, as a seller doesn’t have to inform you if their home was used as a grow op. Per the Toronto Star, here’s an excerpt of an op-ed by Joe Richer, Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario.

“Grow-ops can generate a lot of moisture which may lead to mold infestations, and they may have undergone potentially unsafe electrical modifications. Under the current laws in Ontario, a property seller is not required to disclose the personal history of their home, even if it carries a psychological stigma: a non-physical attribute that could trigger a negative emotional response from potential buyers.”

There are lots of very interesting questions and concerns leading up to legalization, and we hope that it’s much ado about nothing. Will we see a spike in usage now that it’s legal? I doubt it, but every new law brings an adjustment period.

Bye for now!

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