The Canadian Real Estate Association proposes amendment to Cannabis Act to ban at-home cultivation

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The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) announced Monday that it is proposing an amendment to Bill C-45 that would result in a moratorium on home cultivation of cannabis until the government can enact rules and regulations for the entire country.

The proposed moratorium would stop at-home cultivation until individual provinces can enact their own regulations and suggests that Ottawa provides the provinces with guidance on how to cultivate marijuana at home safely.

Canadians will be allowed to grow up to four plants in their home at a time under Bill C-45 or the federal Cannabis Act. According to the CREA, four plants can yield over five kilograms a year under the right conditions and they believe that this level of production is enough to “damage property, endanger at-risk populations and increase housing costs, especially for lower income Canadians.”

Michael Bourque, the CEO of the CREA, spoke in front of Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, about some of the hazards that can be associated with home cannabis cultivation:

“We know fire chiefs are concerned about fires; police organizations are concerned with increased crime; municipalities have concerns about safety and cost; health authorities are concerned about vulnerable people exposed to fungus and mould.”

The CREA represents over 125,000 real estate brokers, agents and sales people and is concerned with how home cultivation will damage property and effect home prices.

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“We’ve heard from homeowners and tenants across the country who are worried about living beside grow-ops. What does this do to their home value? Will this increase their rent? How safe will their kids be? Will their quality of life diminish because of the prevalence of drugs in their neighbourhood? These are all concerned that need to be considered before the passing of Bill C-45,” said CREA’s President Barb Sukkau.

Consuming pot in rental properties has also been a topic of concern recently for landlords who want the right to ban the use of marijuana on their properties when cannabis becomes legal.

Medical marijuana patients are already allowed to grow their own plants at home after the federal court ruled in 2016 that patients cannot be banned from growing their own cannabis. The CREA says that it is only requesting a ban for home cultivation for recreational users when marijuana is legalized this year.

“The courts have been very clear on this, that patients are in fact allowed to grow their own medicine… it’s as simple as that,” said James O’Hara, the president of the advocacy organization Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM)

When asked about he said that CFAMM recommends that all patients growing cannabis at home understand and follow the proper fire and electrical codes to ensure the grows are safe and conform to the right standards.

The Health Canada website states that provincial, territorial and municipal governments will be allowed to set their own further regulations on at-home cultivation beyond what is included in Bill C-45. Federal Justice Minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould said earlier this year that the federal laws will take precedence over provincial laws.

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