The legalization of cannabis is on the immediate horizon and no one knows exactly what the ramifications will be for Strata Corporations. One thing is for certain, though- things are about to get a lot more complicated.
A recent article in the CBC highlighted some of the potential problems that Strata Corporations will face. While this article is about a condo corporation in Toronto, it could very well be written about any BC Strata Corporation as well and certainly those articles will be forthcoming.
We are witnessing more and more strife within Strata Corporations and the tug of war between advocates for marijuana and opponents is sure to be another battleground on which to fight and disagree. There appears to be very little middle ground on the subject (and this is ignoring that cigarette smoke creates many of the same problems).
Each Strata Corporation will have their own unique makeup, culture and personalities. There will be no cookie cutter approach and our best advice is to consult with your Owners (through information sessions and surveys) on what they’d like to see happen. Then, make sure to have lawyers draft appropriate bylaws to be placed in front of the Owners for approval. We recommend having that same lawyer attend the General Meeting where the resolution(s) will be discussed so questions can be answered on the spot by someone with the expertise to handle this complex matter. For example, at just about every General Meeting we’ve attended with a resolution on the floor to ban smoking (tobacco or otherwise) someone has asked “Can the Strata Corporation even do this?”. It’s important to have a lawyer there to answer that question.
We recommend starting this process now. Legalization is right around the corner and, while not everything is known about what that will look like, it’s not too early to get those bylaws implemented. You will still face challenges to those bylaws, based on human rights concerns or others. Once again, the best advice we can offer is to refer all inquiries to legal counsel so as to limit the possibility that a decision a Strata Council makes is later found to be contrary to the various pieces of legislation that are all heading on a collision course for each other.