Medical Marijuana – The Next Issue

Medical Marijuana has arrived. Someone with a medical need is now able to obtain a prescription for marijuana. And, as we all know, legalized marijuana is also on the way!

In early 2016, a Court decision (Allard v. Canada) confirmed the rights of medical marijuana patients to grow marijuana for their own purposes. Federal regulations have since been revised to accommodate the cultivation rights of “registered patients”.

In August of this year, the federal government passed the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). These new regulations permit registered patients to grow medical marijuana for personal use, or to designate an individual to grow medical marijuana on their behalf.

Note that registered patients who intend to grow their own medical marijuana must comply with the requirements under the ACMPR. The Regulations include provisions to help maintain the safety and security of patients, persons designated to produce for patients, household residents and surrounding communities. If patients do not comply with the operating regulations, they are in violation of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Criminal Code. Moreover, registered patients are required to comply with all relevant provincial/territorial and municipal laws, including by-laws about zoning, electrical safety, and fire safety, together with all related inspection and remediation requirements.

Here’s what this appears to mean in the condominium context. Registered patients (persons who need marijuana for medical reasons) may have the right to grow marijuana – for their own use – in their units. Condominium corporations may not have the right to prevent this marijuana cultivation. However, in our view, condominium corporations do have the right to regulate and control this marijuana cultivation – by way of a Rule.

We therefore recommend that condominium corporations consider passing a Rule stating, among other things, as follows:

  • Only registered patients (persons with an established medical need) may grow marijuana
  • The cultivation must be in compliance with all applicable federal regulations
  • The cultivation also must not cause any harm to the property or any disturbance to other persons
  • The grower must advise the corporation of the cultivation, and the corporation may access the unit at any reasonable time, on reasonable notice, to observe the cultivation.

Note that smoking of marijuana in a unit is another matter entirely – and is subject to a whole other set of considerations!

For more questions about passing a Rule to regulate marijuana cultivation in your condominium, contact us.