Lawyer urges condos to draft cannabis rules now rather than later

Real estate lawyer Brandon Hicks called on condo dwellers to establish pot-use rules for their buildings now rather than later.

Hicks, who also serves as the president of a condo board representing 18 stacked units in Regina, stated that waiting after the drug becomes legal on October 17 to draft said rules might prove difficult – not to mention deeply unpopular among landlords already up in arms about the very real possibility of tenants smoking or growing the plant inside their units.

The lawyer said that in anticipation of cannabis legalization, his board has already formed a 4-member committee that will review the building’s rules and suggest revisions, which will include a full ban on all types of smoking (including vaping) that will cover patios, as well.

Residents will be voting on the prohibition at the condo board’s annual general meeting before October. Saskatchewan’s Condominium Property Act mandates that any changes to a building’s bylaws needs to get the approval of 2/3 of the condo board’s voting members.

“There's just too many issues, we thought, that could potentially come up: smoke migration between units, decreases potentially in property values,” Hicks told CBC News.

Read more: Oregon is an object lesson for Canada’s incipient cannabis market – economists

Alberta-based real estate lawyer Robert Noce emphasized the importance of this point.

“The simple reason is to avoid the scenario where you may have to grandfather an existing tenant for that particular use,” Noce said, adding that should there be an actual need to grandfather existing members, “deciding the issue now will at least set a clear demarcation line.”

Hicks also noted that they have to consider the rights of people (e.g. medical marijuana users) in light of the inimical effects of smoke, which other residents will be forced to deal with.

“We’re going to probably see some struggles even in the condominium context when you peel down to the medical level and try to figure out how those rights to make it a smoke-free building interplay with a medical patient’s rights to consume their cannabis,” Ontario cannabis lawyer Trina Fraser agreed.

“I think ultimately it will probably evolve to the point where you're going to either know you're buying a unit within a cannabis-friendly condominium or a cannabis-banned condominium.”


Related stories:
Calgary’s commercial spaces a prime candidate for cannabis
Okanagan pot market ignites greater demand for commercial spaces


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