Landlord group wants stricter limits on where Canadians can grow marijuana

Landlord group wants stricter limits on where Canadians can grow marijuana

A national landlord group says the federal government should change its proposed marijuana legalization bill to ban people from growing plants in rented homes or multi-unit buildings.

Under the Cannabis Act, which was introduced in the House of Commons this week, people over the age of 18 would be able to grow as many as four marijuana plants in their homes, as long as the plants aren't taller than 100 centimetres.

The Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, which represents landlords that manage rental units across the country, said that allowance goes too far.

"Fundamentally we want marijuana growing to still be prohibited in rental units and in multiple-dwelling units, [which] include condos [and] co-operatives," federation president John Dickie told CBC News.

"Because, from that point of view, there are impacts on the neighbours."

Health, safety concerns

Dickie said people should only be able to grow marijuana in single-family homes that they own since, that way, their actions only really affect them.

He contrasted that with rented homes and multi-unit buildings, where landlords and other tenants' health and personal enjoyment could be at risk from some of the issues that might arise from growing marijuana, which include:

- Mould problems caused by the humidity required to grow marijuana, which could erode drywall and window seals.

- An overtaxed electrical system due to the grow lamps needed to keep marijuana plants alive during the winter.

- Increased fire hazards due to people drying marijuana in a household stove.

- Odours from plants getting into other people's units.

"I think the government is obviously balancing a lot of issues here," Dickie said.

"They do want to break the black market, and that's important. But we think we can break the black market if they let people [only] grow it in their own owner-occupied homes, and the product is readily available in stores or by mail order."

Open to revisiting

Dickie said he'd be open to the federal government revisiting the issue three to five years down the line, but it's too much too soon to let people grow in situations where it may affect their fellow tenants.

Provinces could, however, place further restrictions on home growing that go beyond what's in the proposed federal legislation, Health Canada spokeswoman Rebecca Gilman told CBC News in a email.

Anyone who wants to grow marijuana legally will have to follow restrictions from the federal government under the Cannabis Act, Gilman said, as well as any further restrictions that may be put into place by provinces, territories, municipalities and landlords.

Gilman said this includes following fire and building code rules.

The bill still has to be passed — and potentially changed — by the House of Commons and Senate, with the government hoping to make marijuana legal by July 1, 2018.