What You Need to Know about Cannabis in Condos

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For many condo owners and tenants, this legalization won’t change the outcome; that means they won’t be able to smoke cannabis in condos.

One of the more significant concerns that arose when cannabis legalization appeared on the horizon was the fear of smoke penetration into the units of non-smokers. For many condo boards, the solution has been to create rules that ban smoking inside individual units, on balconies, and common areas.

What does this mean for individuals who depend on marijuana for medicinal purposes? For those smoking cannabis medicinally, they would require a grandfather clause because it would allow them to smoke on their premises. It’s better to respect the autonomy of those with these stipulations; there will be two grounds on which these full-out bans can be challenged in court. The first is reasonableness, as in how reasonable a ban is. The second is accommodation, which is why grandfathering certain individuals is a good idea.

After all, condo corporations must accommodate persons with a disability. A successful legal challenge on those terms requires that the person with the disability proves their disability, their prescribed cannabis for treatment, that their consumption is via smoking and that any other method is insufficient, and that smoking inside their unit is imperative.

Provinces are in charge of setting the minimum purchase age, but Canadians will be legally permitted to buy their cannabis, possess and can even share up to 30 grams. They can also grow their plants at home, according to the Cannabis Act. That creates a grey area for condo owners.

It’s important to note that condo corporations can be more restrictive than the municipal government, which in turn can be more confining than the provincial government, which can be even more stringent than the federal government.

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Creating Smoke-Free Environments in Your Building

Condo corporations must determine whether or not other owners want to revise the bylaws to make it clear to others that smoking is not allowed in the common areas, even though it is legally permitted.

That is why condo boards must create rules that either promote the safety, security and welfare of the owners; or, prevent unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the units, the common elements and the assets of the condominium corporation.

Rules enacted to create a smoke-free environment would eliminate smoke in the air, thereby promoting the welfare of the owners.

If a condo board received complaints regarding smoke transfer, this would be considered a nuisance. This would, therefore, create hinder the enjoyment of the units, thereby satisfying the second criterion for a valid rule.

When your condo board enacts a building-wide ban on smoking, the rules must be reasonable. For example, an existing resident who is also a smoker might claim that, as long as they are not causing a nuisance to their neighbours, banning them from smoking inside their unit would be unreasonable.

How does this relate to stopping the smoking of cannabis in condo units? Well, ideally, your condo board will have already dealt with this situation before the October 17 implementation. However, if you have not, then this is where common sense comes into play. For those individuals who smoke medical cannabis, you must accommodate their disability-related needs, so long as their consumption does not cause any interference with their neighbours.

Related blog: Structure and Responsibilities of Condo Boards of Directors  

Want to Hire a Licensed Property Management Company?

A condo board will often hire a property management company to help them handle the daily operations of the corporation and advise them with what’s happening. Having a professional property management company to guide you can certainly lighten the load, but it’s important to note that the board of directors retains decision-making power. This is especially important with the cannabis legalization in Canada because the recreational use of cannabis in condos will now be permitted.

At Braden Equities Inc., we have successfully managed condominium buildings in Edmonton for decades. We remain committed to the residents living in each building we operate and would love to help you.

Contact us today.

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