Submitted by The Lakelands Association of REALTORS
Growing marijuana in a home can pose significant health and safety issues for unsuspecting home buyers. With the legalization of marijuana looming, there are no rules in place to protect a home buyer from purchasing a former grow operation. In its Action Plan for Cannabis Legalization, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is urging the Provincial Government to bring forward measures that will ensure home buyers are protected from the health and safety risks associated with former grow ops.
“The legalization of recreational marijuana in Ontario is going to have significant impacts on homes, as many people will choose to grow their own plants,” said Mike Stahls, President of The Lakelands Association of REALTORS. “Growing cannabis indoors often involves creating conditions that can lead to the formation of mold and fungus, which can have serious health risks for seniors and young children. Therefore, the long-term impact of legal marijuana cultivation on Ontario’s housing stock must be taken into consideration by policy makers.”
In its Action Plan, OREA proposes five policy changes to protect consumers from the risks involved in purchasing a former grow operation, including:
- Designate illegal grow operations as unsafe under the Building Code Act.
- Mandate that illegal cannabis operations are inspected by a municipal building official
- Require municipalities to register remediation work orders on the title of a former grow operation.
- Mandate that all licensed home inspectors receive training on how to spot the signs of a former marijuana grow operation.
- Restrict the number of plants that a home owner can grow from four to one in units 1,000 square feet or smaller.
Legalization of marijuana in other jurisdictions, like Denver, Colorado, has led to a significant increase in cultivation inside private dwellings. Moreover, the RCMP does not believe that legalization will eliminate the involvement of organized crime in the cultivation and sale of illegal cannabis.
“Property owners often go to great lengths to hide the evidence of a former grow operation, making it difficult for Realtors, home inspectors and unsuspecting home buyers to detect,” said Stahls. “It is unlikely Ontario will introduce a law banning the cultivation of cannabis in homes if federal legislation permits it. However, the Provincial Government has the authority to enforce measures to ensure consumers are protected in the largest investment of their lives, and we urge them to exercise that authority.”
More information is available at ProtectOntarioHomes.ca.
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