Coming Cannabis Legislation

What we should know about coming cannabis legislation?

In light of the upcoming cannabis legislation this October many landlords update leasing documents. The main reason is to ensure acceptable standards of property and to avoid conflict among the tenant (if it is a multi-family home).

When cannabis becomes legal, its use will be as legal as drinking coffee or snacks while working. There is no question that marihuana consumption can impair motor skills and cognitive functions. Such impairment could contribute to property damage and personal injury, leaving landlord subject to liability.

I read that many condominiums have already passed adequate changes in rules and bylaws on cannabis cultivation and distribution to protect property, employers and employees from legal liability. Important moment is while making these changes they have to stay in compliance with the Human Rights Code.

What advice can be given to owners of smaller properties, which do not have the bylaws as in case with condominiums? It is better to include a clause in a lease to stop any tenant from smoking or growing cannabis on the premises. This should be inserted into every lease. Yes, marihuana consumption is becoming legal, but it is still better to have this clause in a lease right from the start to have a defense.

Another issue among others that we can see potentially coming with the new legislation: should a home-seller and a real estate agent disclose the past marihuana cultivation on the property when it comes for sale? Most of real estate lawyers tell “yes”. If problems arise after closing (mold behind the walls, etc.), most of buyers will likely start litigation. It is a latent defect, and it will not be difficult to prove that seller knew about it, but failed to disclose.

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