Landlords lobby for cannabis ban
January 20, 2018
British Columbia landlords want the province to follow the lead of Quebec and ban marijuana growing in private homes when recreational marijuana becomes legal under federal legislation on July 1.
LandlordBC, an industry lobby group, is also pushing the B.C. government to introduce legislation that would outlaw the smoking of marijuana in rental housing, which would be the first such law in Canada.
Under Quebec’s proposed marijuana law, residents are allowed to use marijuana recreationally in their homes but won't be permitted to grow cannabis for personal use.
The draft federal legislation, however, allows the growing of up to four plants up to a metre high in private homes. It also allows the consumption of marijuana in private residences.
As well, about 150,000 Canadians are registered as medical marijuana users and could claim discrimination against restrictions on production or use.
“I think there could be a constitutional challenge to an outright ban on growing marijuana [in a private residence],” said Scott Bernstein, a Vancouver lawyer and senior policy analyst at the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. He said B.C. could lower the number of plants that could be grown but it would be difficult to have a blanket ban on people growing marijuana for their personal use, particularly for medical purposes.
“B.C. landlords currently have the right to designate a rental building or unit as smoke-free of any combustible material and that would include cannabis,” said David Hutniak, CEO of LandlordBC.
“What we would like to see is all smoking being banned in rental units including cannabis. We are [also] vigorously encouraging the B.C. government to ban cannabis grow-ops from rental housing,” Hutniak said.
Bernstein said, however, there could be grounds to claim discrimination if marijuana use was banned for tenants and not for homeowners. Medical marijuana users could also say it was an infringement of their constitutional rights, he said.