Marijuana in Condo Buildings

July 2019

With marijuana use now legal in Canada, some condo corporations are forced to deal with an increased incidence of smoking and odours offensive to many in the community.

There are safety and cost concerns relating to the growing of marijuana which is now allowed under certain circumstances.  Marijuana growers, which may include residents growing marijuana for personal use, are required to comply with electrical and fire safety laws.  Those failing to comply with these laws create a danger to the community.

Legislation allows individuals to grow up to four marijuana plants per household for personal use whether it is a 400 square ft. unit or a 1200 square ft. unit.  Some medical marijuana users may be allowed to grow up to 20 plants.  There is no easy or practical way to enforce these limits.  Heavy water use to maintain these plants will require higher fees for all owners.

Marijuana cultivation and use creates additional concerns.  Mould, caused by the humidity required to grow marijuana, can damage suites and common elements including drywall and window seals.  Grow lamps needed to keep marijuana plants alive during winter can overwhelm an electrical system.  Drying marijuana in a household stove can be a fire hazard.  Odours from plants and smoking can get into common areas and other suites.

Condo corporations are able to regulate marijuana cultivation.  They can require owners to undertake reasonable measures to ensure smoke and odour does not emanate from a suite into common areas or other suites.

Considerations for condo rules intended to effectively manage the cultivation and use of marijuana:

  • Cultivation of marijuana allowed for registered patients – individuals with an established medical need.
  • Cultivation of marijuana must comply with all applicable federal, provincial and municipal regulations.
  • Cultivation and use of marijuana must not cause harm to property or disturbance to other persons.  Measures must be implemented, by the suite owner and at their expense, to eliminate any harm or disturbance that may be created.
  • Any grower of marijuana must advise the corporation before proceeding.  They must allow the corporation to access the suite at any reasonable time, on reasonable notice, to observe the cultivation.
  • Any grower of marijuana must agree to install a water meter, at their cost, and repay the corporation for water utilized by the unit beyond average suite use.
  • Where humidity is a problem, the suite owner is required to undertake repairs.  Plant growing can be prohibited should humidity problems become evident.

Condo buildings where smoking is prohibited may offer the easiest solution.  This may be done by amending a declaration, or possibly by implementing a rule.

See The Straight Poop on Dope and Smoking, Vaping and Marijuana – Allow It, Limit It or Prohibit it in the Condo Archives for more on marijuana in condo communities and how to deal with it.