On October 17, 2018, Canada became the second country in the world to fully legalize recreational use of cannabis. Though this groundbreaking decision presents exciting new opportunities for Canadians, a number of questions regarding the use of cannabis still remain for some – specifically for condo owners. A number of Toronto-based condo boards have made strict decisions regarding cannabis use within units, creating a number of issues and questions among condo dwellers, owners, and property managers.
The controversial move to ban residents from using cannabis in condos
While cannabis may now be legal in Canada, many Toronto condo dwellers are discovering that their condominium boards have made the decision to ban the smoking of cannabis products in apartments – whether tenants own or rent them. The move to ban condo residents from smoking cannabis within units started in the months leading up to its legalization in October, with many condominium boards meeting and quickly passing rules in favour of outright banning cannabis use indoors. Critics of this decision have called it hasty, with many stating that these umbrella decisions to ban any and all cannabis use within condos may not hold up in court.
One example of these controversial rulings was recently covered by The Globe and Mail. A Toronto condo board recently passed a total ban with the support of just 28% of its condo owners. Not only did the ruling outlaw smoking cannabis of any kind in condos – even medicinal cannabis products – but it also banned the cultivation of cannabis plants, which was also made legal on October 17th. In an especially controversial aspect of the story, the condo board in question made promises to revisit the issue in the future, specifically regarding the banning of any cannabis product deliveries to the premises. This decision prompted tobacco users in the building to register for a new list that prohibited them to be grandfathered in and continue smoking tobacco products in their units.
What these decisions mean for Toronto condo owners
Decisions to ban all cannabis use in condos will continue to generate controversy in the foreseeable future, with lost human rights and legal issues, lost revenue, and missed opportunities at the forefront of the conversation. As these decisions continue to be made by Ontario condo boards, legal rulings and officials judgments by governing bodies will create precedents for whether or not these cannabis bans can be upheld. A significant segment of the Canadian public still has not fully embraced the potential held by cannabis legalization, though attitudes seem to be shifting.
Until precedents are set and attitudes are changed, it’s important for condo owners to remain vigilant about following the rules set by their board. Refusing to obey the rules set by your condominium board can result in fines and other penalties, and in some cases can lead to lawsuits which often see condo owners forced to sell their unit and leave the condominium. If you’re unclear about where your condo board sits on the issue of cannabis use indoors, we recommend contacting your board and inquiring about policies. If no policies regarding cannabis use have been put in place, it may be wise to ask about whether the board has plans to introduce rules regarding cannabis use in the future.
For more information about the property management and realty services offered by the experienced team at Highgate Properties, contact us today.