Managing Cannabis Legislation in Condos

Date Published : Oct-26-2018

Written By : Kim Brown

Changing cannabis legislation in Canada, and an increasing number of US states, is putting pressure on condo managers and boards for tighter regulation. Residents and owners are concerned about how legalization will affect their lifestyle and property value.
We examine a few of the biggest concerns and some of the top strategies for condo marijuana regulation.

Damage to Property & Property Value

Both the smoking and cultivation of marijuana can negatively affect property value. In a shared space any damage to property and property value affects others. The potential damage from cannabis cultivation is no exception.
Growing marijuana plants risks spreading mould and fungus through ventilation systems. In a condo building, this can cause damage and potential health hazards to surrounding units. This can decrease the value of the unit growing cannabis, as well as other units in the building.
If a condo allows residents to grow marijuana inside, they need to ensure that ventilation inspections are part of regular condo maintenance.


Another problem with allowing the smoking or cultivation of cannabis in condominiums is the smell. Marijuana has a pungent odour while being grown, harvested, and smoked. This smell may leak into hallways and other units.
The smell is unpleasant to many other tenants, and owners renting out their apartments will also want to avoid it. The pungent odour soaks into walls, furniture and carpeting which can make it more difficult to rent or sell the unit later.

Acceptance of Residents

While the legalization of cannabis in states like Colorado has largely been heralded as a success, not everyone is on board. Many individuals are still against legalization or do not want to have the smoking and growing of drugs in their building.
An important role of condo managers and board members is to keep the owners happy and comfortable in their home. Managers can keep on the pulse of how the community feels overall through condo discussion forums and websites. But even if the majority approves, it’s hard to strike a balance that seems fair to those who purchased units before tenants could start growing or smoking marijuana in the building.

Strategies for Condo Marijuana Regulation

Successfully navigating the legalization will require careful condominium regulation. Good condo managers will need to find a balance between new legislation and respecting the property and preferences of the owners and their tenants. Here are a few strategies you can employ:

Smokeless Condos

One of the strategies some condos are doing is preemptively becoming smoke-free buildings. That means no smoking of any kind is allowed anywhere on the condo property. This helps to avoid issues once legalization passes.
Going smokeless can also be attractive to prospective condo buyers. Smoking rates are going down. The largest increase in quitting smoking is adults 25-44, this age group is also the largest growing group of condo buyers.
Another option is simply banning cannabis. Many legal experts believe that prohibition is the best answer to cannabis in condos. With the potential problems and conflicts that can arise, it’s important to get out ahead.
In most condos, current tenants will be grandfathered in. That means tenants who live there before the smoke ban will still be allowed to smoke. However, if your bylaws and rental agreements ban cannabis before it is legalized, then they will not be allowed to smoke marijuana.
One of the biggest criticisms for an outright ban is medical marijuana. Many people treat issues, like chronic pain, with medical marijuana. You can make an exception to a ban for those with medical need, but it’s easy to get a medical marijuana licence. So just about anyone can get a licence if they want to get around this ban. So, many condos are looking at other options:

Restricting Smoking Areas

A less strict approach is restricting the areas where condos allow people to smoke. This can mean specific smoking areas, limiting smoking to balconies or in the courtyard. This approach doesn’t have as strong an impact in preventing smoke from intruding on others. But it is a friendlier policy towards smokers.
The risk with this strategy is that most smokers prefer smoking inside their unit or on their balcony. The repercussions offer potential complications. Smoking indoors can cause potential damage to air quality and ventilation, which affects other units. Smoking on the balcony doesn’t have the same effect, but the smell can intrude on other people’s’ enjoyment of their own balconies.
For this strategy, condo managers and board members need to determine the best balance between convenience and consideration of other tenants.

Banning Cannabis Cultivation

The legalization of marijuana often includes legalizing small-scale growing. The upcoming Canadian cannabis laws and regulations will allow up to four plants per household. Cultivation, even at a small scale risks spreading mould and fungus to other units – as such, many condos are banning it.
In warmer climates, it may be possible for people to grow on their balconies without affecting air quality or ventilation.

Communication & Regulation

Just as with condo pet policies, effective condo marijuana regulation will require communication and enforcement. Owners, residents, and tenants need to know what regulations are coming up. They also need to know that there are set punishments for violations.
Taking advantage of condo communication software will improve your ability to reach the community and inform them of new rules and regulations. Condo managers and boards can quickly communicate with residents on their preferred method of communication.
Discover the latest in condo communication with Condo Control Central. Contact us today for quotes, support, and inquiries.

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