Pubdate: Mon, 30 Apr 2018
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2018 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Armina Ligaya


Canada'€™s real estate industry organization is calling for a
moratorium on growing recreational marijuana at home until the
government sets out nationwide regulations for the practice.

Ottawa'€™s proposed marijuana legalization regulations allow Canadians
to grow up to four marijuana plants at their residences. Medical users
are already allowed to grow at home after a federal court ruled in
2016 that the government cannot ban patients from growing their own

However, the Canadian Real Estate Association said the ban it is
requesting applies to home cultivation for recreational users when
marijuana legalized later this year.

It wants the government to amend regulations to stop home grown pot
until provinces can enact their own regulations dealing with the
matter "and believes Ottawa should provide provinces with guidance
on a€œsafe home cultivation.€"

The association, which represents more than 125,000 real estate
brokers, agents and salespeople, argues that four marijuana plants can
produce as much as five kilograms of cannabis a year. It is concerned
about potential property damage and effects on home prices.

"€œWe'€™ve heard from homeowners and tenants across the country who
are worried about living beside grow-ops,a€ CREA'€™s president Barb
Sukkau told the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science
and Technology on Monday, according to a statement released by the
industry association. "€œWhat does this do to their home value? Will
this increase their rent? How safe will their kids be? Will their
quality of life diminish because of the prevalence of drugs in their
neighbourhood? These are all concerns that need to be considered
before the passing of Bill C-45."

In 2016, a federal court judge struck down legislation introduced by
the former Conservative government, which had banned medical marijuana
patients from cultivating their own pot. The judge found that the law
violated patients'€™ charter rights.

"€œThe courts have been very clear on this,"€ said James O'€™Hara,
the president of the advocacy organization Canadians for Fair Access
to Medical Marijuana. "€œThat patients are in fact allowed to grow
their own medicine... It'€™s as simple as that."

When asked about CREA'€™s concerns, he said that CFAMM recommends that
all patients growing cannabis at home understand and adhere to the
applicable fire and electrical codes.

a€œJust to make sure that the grows are safe and that they conform
with all regulations and standards,a€ he said.

Randall McCauley, CREA'€™s vice-president of government and public
relations said they'€™re not targeting medical marijuana patients who
are growing cannabis at home.

He said Ottawa should ban recreational pot growing at home, and if
not, set out a framework for how it should be governed.

"€œYou can get it by mail. So that alleviates accessibility needs
across the country. Basically, there are many questions and concerns
surrounding growing in your house. And we dona€™t see what problem it
solves, rather, it potentially creates lots of problems."

The question of consuming pot in home residences has also raised the
ire of some landlords, who want the right to immediately ban the use
of pot in rental properties when recreational weed is legalized.

The marijuana legalization bill, C-45, will allow Canadians the right
to grow pot under a certain limit, but each province and territory is
developing its own legal framework for production and consumption.
Quebec and Manitoba, for example, have already chosen to prohibit home
cultivation of weed.

Earlier this month, the Ontario Real Estate Association called for the
provincial government to restrict the number of plants a homeowner can
grow, depending on the size. It recommended that homeowners growing
cannabis in a condo or apartment unit that is 1,000-square-feet or
smaller should be limited to one plant, down from four. The industry
association said this restriction, and other proposed changes, would
help protect home buyers from health and safety risks linked to
grow-ops. Health Canada was not immediately available to comment on
Monday, but its website says that provincial, territorial and
municipal governments will be allowed to set further restrictions on
personal cultivation beyond what is outlined in the proposed Bill C-45.

However, Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said in
February that federal rules around marijuana will take precedence over
provincial law. She has also said that if provincial prohibitions are
challenged in court, the federal law will prevail.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt