By Dylan Dee
With Bill C-45 coming into effect mere weeks from now, cannabis users all over Canada want to know how, and if, legalization will affect their at-home use.
As of Oct. 17, Canadians above legal age are permitted to consume cannabis in a private residence (which includes outdoor spaces such as balconies and backyards), and may possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis for personal use.
However, there are still several things to consider when legally consuming cannabis under your own roof.
If you’re a homeowner
You might have a mortgage or already own your home. This comes with its own perks, like not having a lease dictate if or how you consume cannabis. Homeowners have the upper hand over condo or building unit owners, however. Provincial laws in some condo-heavy cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, will allow condo bylaws to set rules around cannabis consumption for unit owners, as well as renters.
Whether you own a condo or a house, lighting up can still affect your home insurance. Similar to tobacco smoking, cannabis smoking can bring with it higher home insurance premiums.
On top of that, should you look to sell your property in the future, hiring cleaners to get rid of the smoke smell and stains can prove to be an unnecessary cost.
If you’re a renter
Here, the law largely defers to your landlord. It’s a lot like tobacco smoking laws, where your landlord is perfectly within their right to prohibit it on the property. However, there are some differences between each province when it comes to what landlords can stipulate on the lease.
In Quebec, Nova Scotia and British Columbia, for example, landlords have the right to change signed leases in order to ban tenants from smoking cannabis. Ontario has kept rental laws the same in light of legalization, but landlords can still prohibit smoking on their property.
In some cities, condo bylaws can dictate whether or not building tenants can smoke cannabis, even if they own the unit. This is already leading to some clashes.
A recent article in the London Free Press outlined the battle between property management companies and residents, where new policy states that residents who are found to be smoking or growing cannabis in their units will face eviction. The article cited property management’s concerns surrounding smoke and smells that could waft into neighbouring units.
If you’re a post-secondary student
While cannabis consumption is largely permitted in private residences, students living on university or college campuses face a different set of rules. Cannabis consumption restrictions may be province-wide such as in Quebec, where smoking cannabis is not permitted on university or CEGEP campuses at all.
Typically, however, universities or colleges themselves will determine whether or not students can consume cannabis. At Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., school officials say that smoking cannabis will be banned campus-wide, but that students of legal age, which is 19 in Ontario, can consume edible forms “in their room and possess 30g or less of dried cannabis (or the equivalent).”
Some schools go a bit further. The University of Regina in Saskatchewan has banned campus smoking, including cannabis, but has yet to say anything about edibles. Other universities simply say that it is too soon to comment on their new policies.
If you have life insurance
In recent years, insurance companies have begun categorizing cannabis users as non-smokers. SunLife was one of the first companies to do so in 2016, triggering a wave of companies following suit.
Before this, cannabis users were in the same bucket as smokers, meaning they often paid as much as three times what non-smokers were charged for life insurance premiums. Now, people who consume cannabis will face lower costs in light of legalization.
If you have pets or children
Safe cannabis storage is key to keeping it away from pets and children at home. There are several options on the market today, like humidors, lockboxes, and child-safe jars that operate similarly to pill bottles with child-safe caps. Remember, the legal age of consumption falls to provincial or territorial laws. The legal age is 18 in Quebec and Alberta, and 19 everywhere else.
As for pets, it’s still not advisable to treat them with cannabis — at least not yet, according to the College of Veterinarians of Ontario and the Office of Medical Cannabis at Health Canada. For now, there’s no legal pathway to prescribing pets with cannabis-based treatments (since Health Canada has yet to approve any of these medicines for pets) but there are now trials underway in Canada and the United States to investigate.
Dylan Dee is the community manager for Lift & Co. He’s passionate about connecting cannabis experts with bud beginners.