Smoke it, Don’t Grow It: Vancouver Renters Banned from Cannabis Cultivation

By Aaron M.
Vancouverites can smoke and vaporize cannabis in their apartments but are prohibited from growing their own marijuana in Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation.

Canada’s legalization day is coming on fast! In less than two months the entire nation will allow the sales of recreational marijuana to residents. The Cannabis Act permits Canadians to grow up to four plants, but provinces and local governments have different plans in mind.

Quebec, Manitoba, and Nunavut have all banned home growing marijuana altogether. Now, a major housing corporation serving Metro Vancouver has banned growing cannabis for apartment renters.

The Metro Vancouver regional government owns and operates 49 housing sites across the Lower Mainland. All in all, they house around 9,000 people in the region. Under new regulations, existing rental agreements and leaseholders will be permitted to smoke and vaporize cannabis.

Smoking cannabis will now be considered the same as tobacco smoke. The majority of Metro Vancouver Housing leases permit smoking. With the new regulations, these leases will now also allow the smoking of cannabis.

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However, that’s not the case for new developments by the regional housing corporation. According to reports from Metro Vancouver’s management team, 

Tenancies for new developments will prohibit both smoking and vaporizing of tobacco and cannabis.

Housing Corporations Against Home Growing in Vancouver

There has been a huge pushback from housing agencies and landlords across Canada that don’t want renter’s growing cannabis on their property.

The biggest concerns are over property damage caused by growing marijuana indoors. Opponents say that growing cannabis indoors increases the risk of mold in homes, water damage, and potential fire damage.

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At least renters and leasers with medical marijuana licenses may still be able to grow outdoors. The agency commented to The Georgia Straight saying that,

If a tenant makes a request for landlord consent to grow cannabis for medical purposes, this request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Vancouver Metro regional government says that they are limited on staff resourcing for enforcing the four-plant limit per household.

According to provincial cannabis regulation, outdoor Vancouver home growers are supposed to keep plants under a meter tall and out of view from public spaces. 

For urban or metro residents, it’s nearly impossible to have an outdoor grow let alone keep it out of public view, but hey who’s going to stop them?

1 in 4 Renters think Canadians Should Be Able to Grow at Home

recent poll of Canadians across the country asked residents how they feel about cannabis legalization’s impact on their home life. The data revealed that 28%, more than one in four, renters believe Canadian’s should have the right to smoke and grow marijuana at home. 

Regardless, many landlords and insurers are rushing to impose limits on where residents can legally grow and consume cannabis. The poll also surveyed rental property owners and showed that –

  • 62%, or two out of three, landlords said they don’t feel renters should be allowed t smoke cannabis within their rental units
  • More than half, 58%, of landlords said they do not feel renters should be allowed to grow cannabis within their rental units
  • 59% of landlords said they plan to place restrictions on whether renters can smoke cannabis in their rental units
  • 51% of landlords said they plan to place restrictions on growing cannabis in their rental units
  • 57% of landlords said they don’t know whether their landlord’s insurance policy would cover a renter’s damages to their rental unit related to growing cannabis
  • 28% of landlords said they don’t believe their insurance policy would provide coverage for cannabis cultivation related damages

Homeowners Discouraged from Growing Their Own Pot

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Amid the confusion surrounding new cannabis regulations governing home growing, real estate agencies are discouraging homeowners from growing their own weed.

A recent survey by online real estate brokerage Zoocasa revealed that nearly half of all respondents would reconsider purchasing a property if they knew marijuana had been grown in it, even a legal amount. 

If you’re hoping to sell your home one day, you should probably keep your grow outdoors. Homeowners who grow marijuana are more at risk of losing their insurance coverage or not being covered for damages because they were growing marijuana.

"I think once it's found that a house was used to grow marijuana ... then there will be less of a desire for an insurer to ensure that house just because of the inherent risk that comes with mold and everything else,"

Properties that aren’t insurable aren’t likely to get sold. Plus, growing weed still comes with a certain stigma that homeowners just might want to avoid having attached to their property. 

Conclusion

Are real estate and insurance companies being too paranoid? Should Canadians have the right to grow their own marijuana? Well, they do have that right. It’s just regional governments seem to care more about corporate interests than citizen’s rights. 

It’s totally understandable that a commercial cannabis operation in a rental apartment should be questioned, because yes, it does pose a risk of damage.

But are home growers who just want a couple of plants being unreasonably punished? It’s unclear how these regulations will pan out. Expect a bumpy ride over the next few years while Canada gets its new cannabis policies in order.

Thanks for reading! If you’ve enjoyed this article then please share it with others who may also find it helpful. As always, stay tuned to Slyng for your daily dose of cannabis content.

Citations

1.Carlito Pablo Smoking allowed but not cultivation of cannabis in Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation rentals. Retrieved September 10, 2018 from https://www.straight.com/cannabis/1129416/smoking-allowed-not-cultivation-marijuana-metro-vancouver-housing-corporation

2. Pictures of Black Mold. Retrieved September 10, 2018 from https://www.mold-advisor.com/pictures-of-black-mold.html

3. https://www.ratehub.ca/blog/canadians-dazed-and-confused-over-legalized-cannabis-effect-on-insurance/. Retrieved September 10, 2018 from https://www.ratehub.ca/assets/files/Insurance-and-Cannabis-Press-release.pdf

4.Jorge Cervantes How to grow weed in any climate: six top tips. Retrieved September 10, 2018 from https://www.thecannabist.co/2017/01/23/how-to-grow-weed-outside-climate-spring-planning/68376/

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About the author: Aaron M.

Aaron is a freelance cannabis writer for Slyng, covering medical marijuana, cultivation and other cannabis culture topics. He's also an independent musician and songwriter releasing his debut album one single at a time.

www.aaronmatthewmusic.org