Whether you live in Canada or the U.S.A., landlords CAN prohibit you from smoking weed on their premises.
When Canada goes Green on the 17th October it becomes the first ever first-world country to legalize pot but, like America, the governments of its 10 provinces are each entitled to regulate laws surrounding marijuana.
In other words, whether or not you can wind down at the end of the day with a tope very much depends on where you live. Let’s take a look.
Take Quebec, for example, which has approved a new cannabis act that is regarded as one of the strictest in Canada. Tenants in Quebec will be at the mercy of landlords who have been given the power to change existing signed leases to prohibit their tenants from smoking weed on their premises. However, this leeway will only be valid for 90 days from the date pot becomes legal. The new law does not apply to medical marijuana patients.
If you live in Nova Scotia the scenario isn’t much different. Landlords who want to prohibit pot smoking on their premises have been given the legal right to amend existing leases. They can give their tenants written notice, but it must be for a period of four months and must be presented before 30th April 2019.
The Saskatchewan government is considering giving landlords the power to ban pot from the interiors of rental units. That includes possession, sale and use.
If you are a tenant in British Columbia, you will not be able to smoke weed in your home if there is an existing non-smoking clause in your lease agreement. Apart from medical cannabis, the province has also banned the cultivation of marijuana for personal use.
Tenants in Ontario will have to study the rules and regulations of their existing lease agreements. If they are allowed to smoke tobacco, then they cannot be stopped from smoking weed in the privacy of their own homes.
It’s pretty much the same scenario in Alberta where tenants living in condos or multi-family dwellings must abide by the rules and regulations contained in their existing lease agreements. The same applies to weed cultivation.
Back in the U.S.A.
It could be difficult to evict a tenant in one of the States that has legalized marijuana, according to Bret Sachter, an attorney with Avvo that connects people with lawyers. Sachter says trying to evict a tenant after only one violation would most probably be unsuccessful and suggests that a warning is issued before further action is taken. However, more than one violation and continued complaints by neighbors could lead to eviction.
But landlords can prohibit tenants from smoking weed on their premises, just as many existing property owners already enforce a no-smoking ban on tobacco products. Sachter says it’s the right of property owners to enforce their own rules and regulations.
Canadian tenants have been warned by a rental board consultant that they could be evicted if they use cannabis on their properties. Ted Wright has warned tenants to err on the side of caution.
In the U.S.A., landlords can prohibit marijuana cultivation even in legalized States, provided they include this clause in their rental agreement.If there is no such clause in the agreement, then landlords could find it extremely difficult to evict their tenants for the duration of the lease period, says Sachter.
On the thorny question of insurance, the attorney has some sobering comments. Sachter points out that, in general, insurance companies are not obliged to provide cover for damages caused by any illegal activities. Based on the fact that weed is still classified as an illegal substance by the federal government, the attorney advises both tenants and landlords to question their insurance companies about what they will and what they won’t cover in the event of damages to a property.