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 Cannabis Legalization

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 Cannabis Legalization

CHBA wants to ensure that legislation at the federal and provincial levels address industry concerns regarding workplace health and safety and the impact of residential growing on the existing housing stock.

January 2018

In April of 2017 the Government of Canada announced its intention to legalize possession of cannabis for up to 30 grams for adults and permit the growing of up to four plants per residence for personal use. This follows a commitment made by the Liberal Party during the 2015 election.

For the residential construction industry, legalisation has impacts in two broad areas: workplace health and safety and code/remediation in regards to residential growing.

Workplace Health and Safety

Regulation and enforcement is being handled at the provincial level, therefore CHBA recommends members get in touch with their respective provincial safety associations for information that is relevant to their province. In November, the province of Ontario introduced legislation that prohibited the consumption of marijuana in public spaces or workplaces.

Some employers may already have policies in place to deal with drugs and alcohol, possibly with mandatory testing, which will need to match or exceed provincial standards.

Residential Growing

In regards to residential growing and personal cultivation, there are a number of policy questions regarding disclosure requirements, oversight, and enforcement that will need to be addressed.

Consistency and clarity moving forward will support homeowners, homebuyers, renters, landlords, contractors and renovators in making informed decisions about the homes they live and work within.

Much of the regulation in this regard will come at the provincial level, but there are federal and pan-Canadian issues as well.

Currently, properties used for drug production are often either torn down or left empty due to the safety, financing and insurance risks – this is not a sustainable solution moving forward in any city, especially those with housing shortages.

The industry, and consumers, need requirements or guidance for proper disclosure and clear remediation standards surrounding persona] cultivation in residential properties in order to support acceptance of properties back into the housing market upon resale.

The structural impacts to a home from personal cultivation are not fully understood at this time. A number of factors need to be considered:

  • Four plants may be the current metric, but this could vary depending on the number of adults in the home.
  • Growing conditions – ventilation, water usage, hydroponic infrastructure – will all have an impact on the development of mold.
  • Excess heat and moisture can impact building materials and may affect home warranty coverage, including for transfers of ownership from one household that is growing cannabis to one that is not, and when defects may appear.
  • How personal cultivation will be handled in multi-family buildings, both high-rise and low-rise.

Clear remediation standards would benefit:

  • Renovators who will be tasked with remediating properties in the future;
  • Builders, who may acquire properties for future development;
  • Lenders, who will assist with renovation financing or mortgages post-remediation;
  • Insurance providers, as homes previously used for drug operations currently have significantly higher premiums, are denied coverage, or have very limited coverage.

Determining how homes that will be used to legally cultivate cannabis can re-enter the housing market will be a priority.

CHBA at all levels is committed to working closely with their respective governments to ensure that concerns related to the residential sector are included in legislation.