The situation for cannabis enthusiasts in Ontario is getting more drastic by the day, as smoking laws seem to be turning on the users themselves. Landlords in Ontario are now pushing for a right to ban smoking cannabis on their property, despite existing tenant agreements and laws.
Legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada brought on many challenges, and one of those challenges for people of Ontario this summer will be the fight against their own landlords for the right to smoke in the homes they rent.
Landlords all across Ontario are now demanding their right to be able to immediately ban the use of cannabis in rental properties before it gets legalized this summer.
The main argument of the landlords is that they should be allowed to change tenants’ existing leases in order to stop them from consuming cannabis in the units they rent.
John Dickie, president of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, said that in some cases until an existing lease runs out, landlords would be unable to regulate marijuana use in their properties.
“The province is not going to allow marijuana to be smoked in public areas, so where the heck are people going to smoke marijuana? Well, they’re going to do it in their apartments,” he said. “The problem is, just like when they smoke tobacco, the smell goes to neighboring apartments. Buildings are not hermetically sealed.”
However, the issue here is that the provincial laws don’t allow landlords to change the current arrangement between them and the tenants, because that would be illegal.
With the restrictions on smoking cannabis in public already being “too damn high” for the Ontario province, advocates argue that there won’t be many places smokers can roll up on.
The government of Ontario decided that smoking recreational cannabis will only be allowed in private residences while smoking medical cannabis is allowed in all allowed spots, similar to smoking cigarettes.
OK so, if this goes through, and landlords are actually allowed to ban smoking cannabis even before smoking cannabis gets legalized, where in the world are people supposed to smoke cannabis if they live in a rental home or apartment?
Well, pretty much nowhere. You can go to your parents’ house and get high in the basement, but that’s what we’ve been trying to get away from with the legalization.
You can’t go to the park, you can’t go to the beach, you can’t smoke in your rented apartment, and you also can’t smoke in front of the building because that is public ground.
Now, let’s try and see the bigger picture here from both sides.
The biggest argument of the landlord side of the story is that smoking cannabis can cause massive damage to the interior of the units.
They claim that it’s not the stigma of smoking cannabis that is forcing them to push for their right to change existing arrangements, but the fact that it can cost up to $6,000 to get the smell of marijuana smoke out of apartment walls and floors.
Let’s make a quick pause here — $6000 is a lot, probably a year’s worth of rent to many landlords. And I agree, I wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money every time I have a new tenant.
But, who in the world smokes so much that the smell gets stuck on the walls? I mean, come on Ontario, you’ve got a Snoop Dogg in every fifth apartment blazing more than a chimney?
Seriously though, nobody that I’ve ever met in my life has smoked so much that the whole house/apartment smelled like weed after they left. Except for my college friends.
I can see a point there, apartments are often places where parties happen, and a lot of people smoke in these parties, so the smell of weed could stick to walls, but that is why you have anti-party laws for apartment building residents.
However, the law is the law, and it explicitly says that landlords will not be allowed to change the terms of the agreement with their current tenants until the lease is terminated or has ended.
On the flip side, allowing landlords to ban cannabis smoking before the legalization, in residences they already rented to pot smokers will cause 5 potentially huge problems:
- Many tenants will face the “stop smoking or get out” ultimatum
- Pot smokers will have little to no “pot smoking zones”
- A potential market bubble for weed-friendly apartments
- Huge outrage in the pot community which won’t sit well with the provincial government
- A drop in demand for cannabis since it can’t be smoked nearly anywhere
This will be the biggest issue for pot smokers in Ontario if the landlords get it their way.
Some people will probably agree to the new terms and keep chiefing away. Those that get caught will most likely get immediately evicted.
Those that don’t agree to the terms will also get evicted because, well, it is an ultimatum.
Those that do agree to the terms and fully respect them will be left with little to no places to get their buzz on.
This will subsequently lead to several other problems, such as the public outrage against landlords and the provincial government.
Just ban smoking cannabis everywhere…
The lack of zone in which smoking cannabis will be legal once recreational cannabis gets legalized will be so obvious that people will wander around staring into their iPhones maps, looking for a smoking zone, similarly to how they sought after Pokemon a few months ago.
The recent push for cannabis lounges in Ontario has made pot smokers hopeful that one day they might have a Red District of their own similar to Amsterdam.
However, that is still far from certain and the public is yet to voice their opinion via this online survey.
Another housing market bubble?
OK, this bubble won’t be as bad as the previous one, but there could be a serious shortage of weed-friendly residences, which would push the prices of these apartments to skyrocket.
Just imagine yourself living in a normal one-bedroom apartment in Toronto which you pay $1000-2000, and suddenly, you get evicted after you didn’t to the ultimatum.
Many other pot smokers in Toronto suffer the same fate as you did, and now there are 15,000 men and women around town looking for a weed-friendly apartment.
What do you think that would do to the prices of weed-friendly residences?
They could triple or quadruple, and next thing you know you are working two jobs, paying 5k for a weed-friendly place in which you don’t even have time to smoke in.
Next: people take the streets
So, now you have thousands of people that are mad at their landlords, mad at their government for allowing this to happen, and still have no place to get high?
Damn. That would rile me up.
I am pretty sure that people would be completely outraged by the fact that they now have to pay 3x their previous rent just to be able to smoke in their own home.
This would turn very ugly, very quick and we could see people taking the streets with protests and peaceful walks since this is Canada after all. That’s as far as outrage goes here.
No smoking = no demand for weed
This one is just a natural track of events following the previous four, and pretty self-explanatory.
If consumers are allowed to smoke exclusively in private residences, of which they probably have little to none, there won’t be much smoking happening at all.
Why would you go to a dispensary and buy some weed if you can’t even smoke it anywhere? I mean sure, you can bake it and make weed-infused edibles, but that will also leave a smell.
The demand might drop to very low levels, and we actually might have an excess supply.
The only good thing that might come out of all this is that the price of weed might drop.
However, that’s a far reach as Ontario’s government has already said their dispensaries will have a set price for cannabis which should compete with the black market.