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Know the rules about cannabis in condos in Toronto

Know the Rules for Smoking Cannabis in Condos

Cannabis use is legal in Canada, but your condominium board may have regulations that you should know about if you’re hoping to smoke pot at home.

The laws regarding legal cannabis use are expansions of the rules regarding alcohol under the Liquor License Act of Ontario as well as the rules regulating tobacco under the Smoke Free Ontario Act.* Make a list of what you can and cannot do when it comes to drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, and it’s likely the same list applies to legal cannabis use.

It’s important to remember that under the Cannabis Act, only the production of cannabis for smoking has been regulated for legal sale. Edible cannabis, like pot-brownies, is still under review and currently not a legal form of cannabis use. You can make your own cannabis edibles at home, but you can’t buy or sell them. There is an exception for medical-use cannabis, which can be offered in the form of edibles, lotions, or oils.

 

Condominium boards react to smoking cannabis in condos

 

Ever since it was announced that cannabis would be legalized, condominium boards have been scrambling to figure how to tackle the issue of cannabis use in individual units. In general, condominium boards have come up with three options.

 

a) Amend the Declaration — an 80% majority vote would be needed to amend the condominium board’s declaration to prohibit cannabis use. This is very unlikely to happen among condos in Toronto.

 

b) Change the rules – A few proactive condo boards are aiming to change the rules to prohibit all smoking of cannabis and tobacco in units and on building premises.

 

c) Leave it alone – Most condo boards are using the existing condominium laws to regulate and/or prohibit cannabis use, leaving it to unit owners to address nuisances, dangers, or damages.

 

Growing cannabis in condos

 

Under the Cannabis Act, tenants and homeowners are allowed to grow up to 4 cannabis plants per household. For instance, a two-bedroom condo split between two or more roommates is considered one household. It does not mean four cannabis plants per person in the household.

You can grow cannabis plants inside your condo or outside on a balcony or garden. Depending on the rules of your condo board, growing cannabis indoors may pose a problem regarding proper ventilation or moisture damage to walls.

For medical-use cannabis, someone is allowed to grow enough for a 30-day supply or up to 150 grams of dried cannabis. Some condo boards may require proof of the need for medical-use cannabis.

 

Being evicted for smoking cannabis in condos

 

Again, depending on the building, landlords and condo boards may have grounds to evict tenants for smoking cannabis in individual units. Ontario has implemented a standardized lease agreement, but landlords are allowed to include a “no smoking” or “no growing” cannabis clause.

The cannabis clause is precautionary at best, because even if they include it and then the tenant smokes cannabis anyway, the landlord cannot evict them on those grounds alone. The landlord would have to prove that the tenant’s cannabis smoking is bothering their neighbours or other condo residents and/or causing physical damage to the unit. The same applies to growing cannabis in condos.

In condo buildings that have established rules to prohibit the smoking of cannabis, tenants or owners who smoke cannabis will be at greater risk of eviction and/or legal action from the condo board. Historically, condo boards deal with any owners who don’t follow the rules with legal action, followed up by leans on the property. Smoking cannabis will likely be treated in the same way, if it can be proven that it’s bothering other owners or causing damage.

 

Respecting neighbours when smoking cannabis in condos

 

Rules about cannabis use are likely to vary from building to building, but one concern that will likely arise in every condo building is the smell of cannabis smoke. Some people find the smell of pot gross, intrusive, or just irritating. So if you’re going to be growing and smoking cannabis in your condo, your number one goal should be respecting your neighbours and the building.

Most problems with legal cannabis in condos will stem from neighbours making complaints against each other. The problem could easily escalate to an issue with the condo board, and finally become a legal problem. To avoid all of this, it’s recommended that cannabis users in condo buildings respect their neighbours and try their best to minimize the odour of cannabis smoke. There are many ways to hide the smell of weed. It’s pretty simple.

 

* Legal advice on the use of cannabis in condos was provided by Mark Weisleder of RealEstateLawyers.ca