Condo board moves to ban pot smoking ahead of legalization

Ontario's proposed marijuana law restricts smoking pot to private homes, but at least one Ottawa condo board wants to nip that in the bud.

Residents of Gloucester condo building told they won't be able to smoke in own homes

A condo in Ottawa's east-end is banning smoking and restricting who can grow marijuana plants to people with prescriptions for pot. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Ontario's proposed marijuana law restricts smoking pot to private homes, but at least one Ottawa condo board wants to nip that in the bud.

The board of Carleton Condominium Corporation No. 34 has also informed residents of the building on Bathgate Drive in Gloucester that it's banning smoking both marijuana and tobacco inside units, and placing limits on the cultivation of marijuana plants.

Resident Stéphane Viau said the new rules raise several issues as Canada stands poised to legalize the drug.

"If I can't do it in my house and I can't do it in public, where can I do it?" Viau asked.

"Are they breaking the rights of the smokers by doing this?" he asked.

Rules restrict pot smoking, growing

The rules respecting smoking came into effect in December, according to the notice.

It includes a grandfathering clause for smoking within units, but would still ban smoking in all common areas. 

It also allows people to grow marijuana in their units only if they they have a doctor's prescription for marijuana use and if they limit their production to what they need for themselves.

In order to smoke what they grow, the resident may be asked to provide written proof of the medical need to smoke marijuana in their unit and they cannot take the drug another way.

The condo corporation did not respond to CBC's repeated requests for comment.

More condos want pot rules

More condominium corporations are looking to create rules for the use of marijuana in their buildings, according to Rod Escayola, a lawyer with Gowlings WLG with an expertise in condo law.

"I'm dealing with quite a few corporations that wish to adopt a rule, so we're [figuring] out what kind of rules make sense," Escayola said. 

He said rules are part of how condominiums govern themselves and putting in restrictions around marijuana use would be just like what has already been done around going smoke-free or restricting pets.

"Provided that the rule is reasonable and provided that the objective rule is to promote the safety, security and the welfare of the community, the same kind of rules would apply," he said.

Escayola said grandfather clauses and exemptions for medicinal marijuana users are examples of measures needed to for a rule to considered reasonable.

The Ontario government recently started another round of consultation on its cannabis law that considers allowing licensed cannabis consumption lounges.

The province is accepting feedback on its proposals until March 5.

Comments can be submitted through the Ontario Regulatory Registry website.