New BC Cannabis Legislation and Consequential Amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act

The Province of British Columbia has passed the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act (CCLA), which is scheduled to come into effect on October 17, 2018. In this article, we consider the legal implications for BC landlords and tenants.

The CCLA will amend the Residential Tenancy Act by adding section 21.1. This section clarifies the effect that the CCLA will have on residential tenancy agreements as they relate to smoking and growing marijuana on rental properties.

Smoking Marijuana

If a residential tenancy agreement is entered into before the date on which the CCLA comes into effect and the tenancy agreement includes a term that prohibits or limits smoking tobacco, the tenancy agreement is deemed to include a term that prohibits or limits smoking cannabis in the same manner (s. 21.1(2)). If a tenancy agreement is silent on smoking tobacco or has a clause that allows smoking tobacco, the agreement will not prohibit the smoking of cannabis. Vapourizing a substance containing cannabis is not smoking cannabis for the purpose of subsection 21.1(2).

If landlords entering into residential tenancy agreements between now and the date the CCLA comes into effect want to prohibit the smoking or vaping of marijuana, they should ensure that their tenancy agreements prohibit (a) smoking tobacco, cannabis (including medical cannabis), and other combustible materials, and (b) vapourizing tobacco, cannabis (including medical cannabis), and other combustible materials.

Growing Marijuana

A residential tenancy agreement entered into before the date on which the CCLA comes into effect is deemed to include a term that prohibits growing cannabis plants in or on the residential property unless on the day before the date on which the CCLA comes into effect:

(a)        the tenant is growing in or on the residential property one or more cannabis plants that are medical cannabis,

(b)        growing the plants is not contrary to a term of the tenancy agreement, and

(c)        the tenant is authorized under applicable federal law to grow the plants in or on the residential property and the tenant is in compliance with the requirements under that law with respect to the medical cannabis (s. 21.1(4)).

If landlords entering into residential tenancy agreements between now and the date the CCLA comes into effect want to prohibit the growing of marijuana, their tenancy agreements should prohibit (a) growing, cultivating, propagating, or harvesting of cannabis (including medical cannabis), and (b) growing, cultivating, propagating, or harvesting of any hydroponic (water based) plant (including without limitation cannabis and medical cannabis).

After the CCLA comes into effect, if landlords want to prohibit the smoking or growing of marijuana, their residential tenancy agreements should similarly include terms prohibiting the smoking or growing of marijuana. If you have questions about how the CCLA will impact you as a landlord or as a tenant, contact the business lawyers at EKB.

 

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