The laws in Canada for marijuana (Cannabis sativa or indica) changed as of October 17, 2018. Subject to provincial or territorial restrictions, adults who are 18 years of age or older are legally able to: possess and share with other adults up to 30g of legal cannabis if its purchased from a provincially-licensed store.
But the question is “Can you Grow Marijuana in a House in Canada?” And what about condos? And what should Home Buyers be aware of if they are purchasing a property that was used to grow marijuana?
Canadians are legally allowed to grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use. More than 4 plants in a household is considered illegal and might be defined as an illegal “Grow Operation or Grow-Op” if the home has been converted into a full-scale marijuana operation. Adding to the problem for Home Buyers is that sometimes these homes are hard to spot because they have been “cleaned up” before going on the market for sale.
Buying a home in Canada with a grow-op history is risky. It exposes the Buyer to hidden damages in the house and potential stigma (a negative impression of a property based on emotional response). When a house is used for large scale cannabis production significant issues can occur such as:
Dangerous mould and fungal formation can occur inside walls and especially in the basement. Also, of concern, the electrical system can have unusual or modified wiring which is not up to the normal safety standards. Sometimes the hydro meter has been tampered and large outstanding bills are registered with the hydro company. To seal in odours, many windows and doors are sealed shut which poses a problem for indoor air quality. Fireplaces may have been altered and additional piping for ventilation that is also not up to the building code.
If you are looking to buy a house but you are not sure if the house has been a grow house or not, you can also protect yourself by taking these steps:
- conduct independent research into the property’s past. This could include a simple online search of the address or obtaining other public records regarding the property
- adding a seller’s warranty in your offer that the home was not used to grow marijuana. Typically, these types of warranties only cover the period of the seller’s ownership and occupancy. Find out how long the seller has been living there.
- have the property inspected by a qualified home inspector, engineer or contractor who is better able to identify potential structural damage, modified wiring and other tell-tale signs of a former grow-op.
What about a Condo? Its important to check on the Canadian Condo bylaws before your purchase. Condos are considered private property and can have their own legally enforceable bylaws that prohibit smoking or cannabis growing even if its only 4 plants. This makes sense because condos are smaller spaces and some people can have an allergic reaction or negative emotional response to the smell of marijuana. Sometimes exemptions can be found for medical reasons and bylaws can be challenged. However its not likely to succeed unless a person has lived in the condo for a long time prior to the bylaw and was grandfathered in other words the rules do not apply to them.
For more information on the laws in Canada for Marijuana visit:
Photo credit: Image by cytis from Pixabay