Are you a board member who wants to develop a policy that’s in full compliance with the new cannabis law? Advice from a condominium lawyer will help you understand how things stand today.
Condominiums and Cannabis Legalization
The legalization of cannabis in Canada is proving to be problematic for many condominium owners and property managers. The boards responsible for the condos as well as condominium lawyers Toronto are not always sure how to proceed if there is some sort of ban on use by condominium owners. While some have restructured old policies to comply with current laws, others still attempt to ban the use of cannabis for any reason. Whatever side of the fence you happen to be on, it pays to understand the current situation and why you might need a condo lawyer.
Across the Board Bans
As legalization came closer to reality, many boards rushed to pass bans that would prevent smoking of any type inside their buildings. This included the use of tobacco products within individual units as well as in the common areas.
One of the challenges that condo lawyers see with this type of all-inclusive ban is that it infringes on the rights of the condo owners to determine how their personal spaces are used. For example, owners who lease out their units from time to time could set their own rules about smoking in the past. Now they no longer have that right. It’s a weak point that Toronto condominium lawyers can sometimes utilize to challenge new board regulations and successfully have them overturned.
Time will tell if this approach will actually work for condominium lawyers and their clients.
Bans with Medical Exemptions
Other boards have chosen approaches that include provisions for medical but not recreational use. Under those regulations, condominium corporations would recognize the right of owners as well as guests to smoke cannabis if they have certain medical conditions. It would be necessary to provide proof that those conditions were present. Even then, use would be limited to the individual unit and not allowed in common areas.
While less problematic in terms of being in opposition to the new condominium law, there is still the question of how this squares with the recreational use of cannabis in Canada today. Is providing medical exemptions only still in violation of the right of an individual to smoke within his or her own unit? That’s an area of condo law that is likely to receive a lot of attention in the next few years. Even as condominium corporations prepare to defend this type of ban, others are preparing to defend their right to do what they want within their own living spaces.
Adopting New Policies That Recognize Recreational Use
There are property management firms as well as condominium management teams who have chosen to adopt new policies that allow for the medical and recreational use of cannabis within individual units, but not in common areas. Of all the new regulations enacted at different condo complexes, this is the one that’s most likely to receive little attention. This is particularly true if the condo rules in the past did not allow the use of tobacco in the common areas. This may be the most compliant of all new regulations and one approach that a condominium lawyer is likely to recommend to his or client.
<h2>Reasonable Limits and Condominium Policies</h2>
One important factor to understand is that the Condominium Act does not infringe on what is known as reasonable limits.
There are already laws in place that preclude condo boards from making rules that prevent owners from engaging in certain activities within their own spaces. The laws recognize what’s known as reasonable limits.
Essentially, that means if the activity is not causing any inconvenience or discomfort for others living in the building, the condo owner or temporary tenant is free to engage in that activity. For any law firm that includes condo law in its practice areas, the issue of what constitutes reasonable limits is likely to figure in any challenge to a condo board’s regulations.
Are you a board member who wants to develop a policy that’s in full compliance with the new cannabis law? Perhaps you are a tenant or owner who wants to understand what legal protections you have under Ontario law.
Advice from a condominium community lawyer will help you understand how things stand today, and what legal challenges are making their way through the court system.
That will help you make a more informed decision about how to proceed.