“Thank you for not Smoking (or Growing)… Cannabis”

Authors: Naheed Bardai, Spencer Edwards 

Using and cultivating cannabis for recreational purposes will soon be legalized by both the Federal Parliament and Saskatchewan’s Provincial Legislature. However, this does not mean that individuals will be permitted to use and grow cannabis wherever they please. For example, the Provincial Government has already made it clear that the consumption of cannabis in all public places will be prohibited.

Furthermore, and for the purposes of this blog, the Provincial Government has also recognized the rights of landlords and condominium boards to place restrictions on the use and cultivation of cannabis on their premises.

The Saskatchewan Legislature recently amended the Residential Tenancies Act, authorizing landlords to establish and enforce rules regarding:

“the tenant’s use, occupancy or maintenance of the rental unit or residential property, including rules prohibiting the possession, use, selling or distribution of cannabis or the growing and possession of cannabis plants in the rental unit.”

Similar to how the Provincial Legislature has acknowledged the rights of condominium boards to ban tobacco smoking in their complexes, it has stated that condominium boards will be able to pass bylaws with respect to smoking or cultivating cannabis in their complexes.

However, even though the amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Provincial Government’s policy statements regarding the use and cultivation of cannabis in rental properties and condominiums seem clear, they have yet to be tested by the courts.

One of the more likely challenges that landlords or condominium boards face is to a residential lease or condominium bylaw provision that prohibits the use and/or cultivation of cannabis by an individual who uses and/or cultivates cannabis for medical, rather than recreational, purposes. This would force a court to balance a landlord or condominium board’s right to impose restrictions on the use and cultivation of cannabis for both valid public health and safety against the duty to accommodate a residential tenant or condominium resident based upon medical requirements.

While some activists, politicians and others have heralded the legalization of cannabis as the end point of a journey, it appears to be just the beginning of a long, smoky road on which many legal issues will arise.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.