REALTORS® are concerned that legalization will lead to more cannabis being grown in Ontario homes. Cannabis cultivation in residential properties can create serious health and safety issues. As cultivation of cannabis in homes proliferates, the Provincial Government needs to take steps to ensure that unsuspecting home buyers are protected and homes are properly remediated.
Health and Safety Issues with Cannabis Grow Operations
Former cannabis grow operations, even on a small scale, can pose significant health and safety issues for unsuspecting home buyers. These risks are often masked by owners of existing grow operations when the property is sold, making it difficult for home buyers and REALTORS® to detect. Growing cannabis indoors often involves creating conditions with high humidity and high temperatures. These conditions can lead to formation of mold and fungus which can have serious health risks to occupants of the home, particularly in seniors or young people with breathing issues.
Illegal Cannabis Grow Operations in Ontario Homes
Historically, organized crime has been responsible for the overwhelming majority of illegal cannabis grown and sold in Ontario. The RCMP does not believe that legalization will eliminate the involvement of organized crime in the cultivation and sale of illegal cannabis. REALTORS® are concerned that illegal large scale cannabis grow operations in residential properties will continue in Ontario neighbourhoods.
Legal Cannabis Grow Operations in Ontario Homes
Under the proposed federal legislation, individuals will be permitted to grow up to four plants in their home. Legalization of cannabis in other jurisdictions has led to a significant increase in cultivation inside private dwellings.
In Denver, Colorado, for example, police estimate that cannabis is grown in 1 of every 10 homes. While the federal law will limit the number of plants, these rules are almost unenforceable in practice. The long term impact of legal marijuana cultivation on Ontario’s housing stock must be taken into consideration by policy makers.
Even prior to these proposed rules, most people with medical licenses to grow in Canada are not complying with fire, plumbing, building or electrical regulations. The same risks that exist in illegal operations apply to legal ones as well.