I guess this should have been expected.
This has been a historic week for Canada. Just moments ago the Cannabis Act of Canada received Royal Assent and we are now the second nation to fully legalize marijuana nationwide.
Justin Trudeau announced the official date of October 17, 2018, just yesterday. While this marks the end of a 90+ year prohibition, Canada still remains at large very conservative on beliefs held towards weed.
In Quebec alone, the provincial laws for cannabis still receive a lot of criticism. Some of which will inevitably change some of our living situations with respective landlords.
I've already started to see this change. Not only have restaurants and businesses updated their non-smoking signs posted outside to include pot with vapes and cigarettes, but ads for available housing are starting to mention marijuana.
Mostly they mention a restriction against smoking weed in your home. Once was a time this wasn't really advertised, and hardly mentioned. That time is coming to end.
Earlier this year landlords had already begun to send notices to tenants banning marijuana from being smoked in their properties. The Quebec Landlords Association has stated that landlords are looking to add clauses going forward to their property leases making consuming marijuana forbidden.
Here is a sample of some of the notices - sorry to the English readers, it is in French.
Reasons behind this have included the smell of smoke being a "nuisance" to other tenants, people having families and children on the property, and possible health issues.
Just at the beginning of May a man in Quebecwas evicted from his apartment for use of medical marijuana to treat pain and recovery from cancer.
While I can understand these points, I am still an avid supporter of marijuana and don't personally find this so different from smoking cigarettes (inside or outside) and even drinking alcohol on the premises.
As of now, marijuana laws follows similar guidelines to that of alcohol, with much stricter restrictions on quantity and accessibility. But at the end of the day, these are both now legal controlled substances for adults.
Tenants seem to agree with me on this, and have called the move from landlords "discriminatory." The tenants association of Sherbrooke, QC, has said exactly that.
"It's our housing that we pay for. We take care of [the space]. It's our home," said spokesperson Normand Couture. "So if we want to consume cannabis, or consume cigarettes, then the landlord can't prevent that."
Still, this is new territory for all sides. Landlords can't just force this whenever they choose, and tenants can contest. It will fall upon the Rental Board to clarify the power landlords can get in these situations.
Personally, I feel these conversations are happening because of the law - which I do understand. I can't help but feel that nothing will change much, anyway.
At least in Montreal, entering a building with faint smells of weed is far from uncommon. Truthfully, though, most of us are respectful and keep that behind our own closed doors which I see absolutely no issue with.
Regardless, as of today, the law is officially on our (smokers) side. I'm lucky to have a very liberal living environment, and I'm very curious about how this will play out in coming months.
You can read the full Prohibition of cannabis in dwellings guidelines set by the Régie des rentes du Quebec for more information.