It has been nearly a year since Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, was passed into legislation, meaning Canadians have enjoyed the ability to legally consume and grow the drug within their own private residences. With the exception of Manitoba and Quebec, those who want to cultivate their own supply can grow up to four plants on their property; however, when it comes to Canadians’ comfort levels with home-grown pot and its impact on real estate, things are still a bit hazy.
According to new national survey data collected by Zoocasa, respondents are starting to relax their views when it comes to some aspects of legal cannabis within the home – but not all. Let’s take a look at the findings, which were gathered from over 1,300 Canadians on the following topics:
Consumption and cultivation of cannabis in private residences
Living in close proximity to where cannabis is sold
Awareness of landlords, renters, and condo dwellers of their rights and the rules that govern cannabis usage in their homes
Dispensaries are getting a warmer welcome
One area where Canadians are feeling considerably more at ease is in regard to the opening of dispensary businesses in proximity to their homes. Last year, when they were polled immediately prior to legalization, just 31% of respondents said they were comfortable with these businesses operating nearby. This year, that has increased to 43%.
However, those who rent are more likely to be cool with neighbourhood dispensaries, with 56% indicating as such, compared to 36% of homeowners. And, those who identified as millennials were the chillest of all, with 56% saying they’d be comfortable compared to a combined 34% of Gen Xers and Boomers.
Canadians are also less concerned that nearby dispensaries could harm neighbourhood home values; just 32% continue to hold this belief, a 10% drop from 42% in 2018. Homeowners were more likely to think so, though at a still relatively low rate of 35%, while only 25% of renters were in agreement. Again, millennials were least likely to be concerned at 24%, compared to 38% of older generations.
Stigma is fading around home-grown pot
Another notable area of improvement is regarding how Canadians feel about homes where a legal amount of cannabis has been grown; when the legislation was introduced last year, there was a lot of lingering uncertainty, particularly among the real estate industry as to whether the presence of cannabis could still stigmatize homes for sale despite its legal status.
When prospective home buyers were asked at the time if the presence of plants would dissuade them from purchasing a home, over half agreed. This year, however, that has dropped to 48%, with millennials least likely to be concerned, at just 38%, compared to 53% of older generations.
However, it’s important to note that those who do plan to cultivate their own green should loop in their home insurer; while the activity is now legal, it can still be considered risky, given the heightened chance of fire, flood, or theft. The onus remains on homeowners to disclose growing to their insurer, and be sure their home coverage is sufficient to cover any related losses.
When it comes to smoking in the home, however, respondents remain firmly against it – a total of 61% said they felt it would devalue the property, legal or otherwise.
Legal cannabis still a big concern for landlords
While overall sentiments may be softening toward legal cannabis, it remains highly concerning for those who identified as owning rental properties. In fact, the vast majority – 85% - of landlords said they would strongly prefer tenants who did not consume cannabis, or intend to grow it at home. They’re also highly worried as to the resulting damage legal cannabis may cause their properties, with 57% indicating as such, with another 55% saying they’d consider raising rents for future tenants to offset these perceived costs.
Cannabis still a sore spot in condos
When it comes to multi-family housing, such as condos and rental apartments, the issues around legal cannabis can become increasingly complicated, as the actions of one resident can impact many. As well, rules put forth by condo boards and property management can supersede that of the legislation itself, meaning, with the exception of those who hold medical licenses, management can ban smoking or growing cannabis within units and common areas in the building.
According to the survey, knowledge of these rules is fairly high among respondents who live in multi-family housing, with 72% in agreement. However, there will always be those who shirk authority, as 21% indicated they would continue to smoke within their unit, even if it was against the rules.
Know your rights as a homeowner or tenant
The bottom line is, regardless of cannabis’ legal status and increased normalization among the public, it’s important for Canadians to be aware of how consuming or growing it within their home can impact its value, their lease, or their neighbourhoods. After all, voiding one’s home insurance or receiving an eviction notice is sure to harsh any buzz.
Penelope Graham is the Managing Editor at Zoocasa, a full-service brokerage that offers advanced online search tools to empower Canadians with the data and expertise they need to make more successful real estate decisions. View real estate listings at zoocasa.com or download our free iOS app.