Medical Marijuana and Strata Corporations
With apologies in advance for the many puns from our colleagues at Lesperance Mendes, we thought it would be beneficial to link to two recent articles of theirs regarding marijuana (and smoking in general) within Strata Lots.
The first is a link to their excellent commentary on the very first decision published by the Civil Resolution Tribunal. The case revolves around a Strata Corporation seeking relief from an Owner who had been fined repeatedly for smoking in their suite (both marijuana and tobacco). The Strata sought an order to prevent the Owner from continuing to do so and not for any monetary damages- though this is an option that was available to them. The CRT found in favour of the Strata Corporation, though unfortunately it was at least partially because the claim was uncontested. The reasons are laid out in the published judgement itself, but suffice it to say the Tribunal was very critical of the argument put forward by the Owner, his lawyer and his Doctor as to why he felt compelled to consume marijuana by smoking it. They noted in particular that there are other (legal) consumption methods available to anyone with a prescription for marijuana. The Tribunal also quite rightly pointed out that the alleged disability of the Owner had no bearing on their smoking of cigarettes.
The second link is a more general, pun filled discussion on medical marijuana, the implication of “grown your own” and the importance of strong bylaws outlining clear expectations of Owners who suffer from medical conditions that require them to ingest marijuana.
We should all expect this issue to become much more prevalent within shared communities. Consumption of marijuana is becoming more normalized, and it is expected that in the not so distant future marijuana will be decriminalized and available for recreational consumption. Whether or not this will lead to increased usage is debatable, but it will surely result in more difficulties within Strata Corporation as Owners and Residents advance more and more claims that they should be allowed to “smoke it” if they’ve “got it”. We encourage any Strata Council dealing with a nuisance complaint about marijuana to tread carefully and engage legal advice where appropriate to address the complaints, so as to be sure that fines and other enforcement measures are enfor0ecable in the event of a claim at the Civil Resolution Tribunal.