Pubdate: Fri, 14 Nov 2003
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 The Province
Author: Adrienne Tanner
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Vandale Smith had Otta-wa's blessing to grow marijuana in his rented
Surrey basement suite for medical purposes.

His landlord, Anna Grant, who did not live in the home, was
sympathetic and gave him written permission to nurture a crop for
personal use.

But the upstairs tenant, a mother with children, was less than

Her objections to what she perceived would become a dangerous
"grow-op" downstairs led her to complain to the Residential Tenancy

That decision in turn prompted Smith and Grant to file their own
complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

In a recent ruling, the tribunal tossed out the complaint in which
Smith and Grant alleged the tenancy-branch ruling constituted
discrimination on the basis of physical disability.

The arguments began a year ago when the upstairs tenant took her
concerns to the branch.

The upstairs tenant wanted her landlord to ensure that the downstairs
suite continued to meet health and safety regulations. She also
demanded compensation for any extra hydro costs resulting from the
grow lights needed to nurture the dope.

A tenancy branch arbitration hearing was held

Dec. 18, according to a recently released human rights

"In addition to discussing the claim, the upstairs tenant testified
that the smell of marijuana escapes through the floor to her premises
and she worries about her children inhaling this contaminated air,"
the ruling states.

The arbitrator upheld Smith's right to grow pot but ordered Grant to
pay her tenant $300 to compensate her for the pungent odour.

Grant passed on the cost to Smith, along with a note stating, "I
realize how unfair this situation is, especially as neither you nor
myself had received any complaint about smell . . ."

Smith went to the human rights tribunal early this year to argue that
the tenancy arbitrator's decision directly affected him, because he
was asked to pay the compensation. A month later, Grant joined her
tenant's human rights complaint.

But the tribunal found that because the arbitrator ordered the
landlord, not Smith, to pay the $300, Smith was not entitled to file a
human rights complaint.

At the same time, it found that Grant was not entitled to make a
complaint either because it is Smith, not his landlord, who is
physically disabled.

The tribunal said the proper place to resolve the dispute is in the

Neither Smith nor Grant could be reached for comment yesterday.
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