Area of Law: Cannabis Law
Answer # 2362
Can you smoke or vape cannabis in a condo that you own?Region: Ontario Answer # 2362
Provincial and territorial governments have the authority to make laws concerning where it is legal to smoke or vape cannabis. Different provinces have different rules for smoking or vaping cannabis in a private residence.
Where is it allowed?
In Ontario, residents are legally allowed to smoke recreational cannabis wherever it is legal to smoke tobacco. This is regulated by the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017. Under the Act, it is legal for individuals, aged 19 or older, to smoke or vape recreational cannabis in their condo residence (referred to as a private dwelling), including the balcony (if it is exclusively for the use of the unit), unless it has been banned in the condo corporation’s governing documents (such as in the declaration, rules, or bylaws).
Municipalities may also include additional restrictions on smoking and vaping cannabis in their bylaws.
Where is it not allowed?
Under Section 12(2) of the Act it is illegal to smoke or vape cannabis in any common indoor areas of a condo, which includes:
- parking garages
- party or entertainment rooms
- laundry facilities
- exercise areas
Can a condo corporation ban cannabis use in its units?
Condo corporations can create rules regarding the use of cannabis in the building in the same way as they regulate tobacco smoking. Most condo corporations have rules that contain restrictions on smoking.
Under the Ontario Condominium Act, condo corporations can prohibit the use or production of cannabis on their property, by:
- amending a declaration , or
- making or amending a rule.
Amend a declaration
The declaration sets out the various issues of condo ownership. Section 107 of the Condominium Act sets out the regulations that a condo corporation must follow in order to amend a declaration. For example, at least 80% of owners of the units at the time the board of directors approves the proposed amendment must consent to it in writing.
Make or amend a condo rule
Rules are passed by a resolution of the condominium board of directors and must comply with the Condominium Act, the declaration and the condominium by-laws. Under Section 58 of the Act, to be valid a rule must:
- promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and of the property and the assets, if any, of the corporation; or
- prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the units, the common elements or the assets, if any, of the corporation.
Rules may apply to:
- the individual units,
- the condominium’s common areas (called common elements)
- exclusive-use common elements such as balconies
There are a number of other specific requirements that must be met in order to amend a declaration or make or amend a rule. Refer to the Condominium Act or to the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) for more information.
Medical cannabis use in condos
Medical cannabis users are not subject to the same rules as recreational users. Medical cannabis users sometimes have the right to smoke even when smoking is otherwise prohibited, depending upon their situation. The Ontario Human Rights Code takes precedence over rules made by condominium corporations, meaning the corporation must accommodate the use of cannabis for medical reasons authorized by a healthcare professional. If the condo corporation does not comply, it may be subject to a human rights complaint. However, condo residents who smoke cannabis for medicinal reasons are still responsible to ensure that their actions do not create harm to other residents.
Offences and penalties under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017
Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, smoking or vaping where it is not allowed is an offence. If convicted, the fines are:
- $1,000 for a first offence,
- $5,000 for any further offence
For more information on the possession and use of cannabis, refer to other sections of Cannabis Law.
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