Canada: Condo Boards Urged To Revisit Bylaws In Anticipation Of Marijuana Legalization

Photo Credit: Robert F. Bukaty

With marijuana legalization expected later this year, condo boards are being urged to revisit their bylaws in anticipation.

The president of the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) North Alberta Chapter said legalization could make some bylaws outdated.

“Some of these bylaws are old, from the early 80s, and they won’t even reflect some of the language that we are talking about here,” Anand Sharma said.

Some condo boards already have smoke-free regulations, but Sharma said most buildings allow owners to smoke in their own units.

Current condo bylaws that regulate smoking should apply to marijuana, but pot smoke could present different issues.

“It’s definitely a kind of grey area at times,” Sharma said.

“Marijuana smoke in a unit where the building has kids and (the smoke is) coming through, won’t be acceptable to a lot of people,” Sharma said. “They’re going to have to tweak their bylaws for sure to reflect, strengthening of those bylaws.”

In Alberta, it’s proposed that each household will be allowed to grow up to four plants. However in a shared multi-family complex, such as a condo building, there’s concern about issues including fire hazards and mold.

Shamon Kureshi with Hope Street Real Estate Corporation said marijuana legalization is an issue condo owners have been raising.

“It’s something that we find the clients of Hope Street will ask us about because it’s a concern in terms of damage to a property or ways of impacting the neighbors in negative aspects,” Kureshi said. “We’ve seen it where there’s grow-ops that have cost our clients or landlords hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Condo boards need 75 per cent approval for bylaw changes, which is typically a long process.

“Some condo boards are on it. They’re already making changes or preparing to make changes. But some are not even aware of the impact,” Sharma said.