The co-ownership tempest in a “cannabis pot”

September 13, 2017 - The upcoming cannabis legalization is the object of a growing co-ownerships controversy. Neighborhood disturbances are likely to increase, as tobacco smoking already generates several co-owners conflicts, due to second-hand smoke migrating from one unit to another in some buildings.

Lawyer Sébastien Fiset believes that if pot is legalized for recreational purposes in Canada, the Québec Tobacco Control Act should apply. But would a syndicate succeed in prohibiting its use in the private portions of a co-ownership? Quebec case law tells us that this has already happened with smoking.



The Superior Court ordered, in a judgment in 2015, that a co-owner cease smoking in her private portion at all times. She was also forbidden to do so, from May 1 to November 1, in the common areas for restricted use of the immovable (including balconies).

"This decision was made possible by the total acquiescence of the smoking co-owner," says Clément Lucas, a condominium law attorney at the de Grandpré Joli-Coeur law firm. On the other hand, the judge allowed her to smoke on her balcony, from November 2 to April 30, under reserve that the doors and windows of her private portion remain closed.

Insurability Issue

Growing pot plants at home can cause moisture problems. The foreseeable legalization of cannabis would be accompanied by the right to cultivate four plants per unit, subject to certain conditions. Imagine 7 or 8 co-owners taking advantage of this practice in their condo. This could lead to insurability problems.

The Regroupement des gestionnaires et copropriétaires du Québec (RGCQ) (Québec Co-owners and Manager Association) has prepared a report on marijuana in co-ownerships, which will be published in its winter 2018 issue. Readers will learn, among other things, why second-hand smoke migrates from a condo to another, and what is the positioning of the Corporation des proprietaires immobiliers du Québec (CORPIQ) (Quebec Real Estate Owners Corporation) regarding the upcoming pot legalization. An absolute read!

By François G. Cellier for

Montreal, September 13, 2017