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growing marijuana in an apartment

Growing marijuana in an apartment

“I don’t think it’s fair that people with houses can grow it, but people who don’t are penalized. I’d like to own a home, but can’t afford the down payment.”

There is room for interpretation, though. The notice from Homestead says the landlord is allowed to add “additional rules and regulations which govern the term of our tenancy provided such rules do not interfere with your rightful enjoyment of your rented premise.”

David Lyman, a lawyer who advises landlords on residential tenancy law, agrees that “rules and regulations” usually refer to such things as a change in the hours of the common laundry room. He doubts if a landlord could obtain an eviction solely on the basis of the no-growing rule.

Most of the attention has been on the dilemma of where apartment-dwellers will be allowed to smoke pot. But the law also allows people to grow up to four plants per residence. That is pretty straightforward for those who own a home.

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The issue of home-growing was one of the most contentious in the federal law legalizing marijuana. The federal government maintains that home-growing is an important element of the strategy to fight the marijuana black market.

Officials at Homestead declined to be interviewed or respond to a question about the enforceability of their no-grow rule. The company released a statement saying there are “ still many unanswered questions about how the legalization of cannabis is going to impact everyone in particular its use within a multi residential building and we eagerly await the final details of the legislation.”

Typically, such rules refer to common areas of apartments, said cannabis business lawyer Trina Fraser. “I think it’s a stretch to say that this includes unilaterally banning a legal activity within your unit.

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Homestead is concerned that cannabis growing in its apartments could create hazards such as mould, excessive electricity consumption and fire risk, according to the notice sent to tenants. There could also be a security risk if it becomes known that cannabis is being grown in certain locations, said the policy that applies to tenants in about 25,000 rental units across the province. Homestead has about 35 rental building in Ottawa, mostly highrises.

“I doubt that an eviction order would ever be granted on this basis. Yet many landlords are trying to do this. We’ll get some jurisprudence on this issue soon enough, I expect.”

However, Central Virginia Legal Aid Society Litigation Director Martin Wegbreit suspects there will be issues at some point.

Previously, he said his company would drug test all new applicants. Now they have stopped testing for marijuana altogether, a growing trend across the state.

“You can probably have a pot plant on the balcony because that is legal,” Jones said.