Growing your own medical marijuana could affect the sale of your house

The problem with growing marijuana is that it’s a demanding plant that could cause quite a bit of damage.
The problem with growing marijuana is that it’s a demanding plant that could cause quite a bit of damage. (Photo: REUTERS/NYPD/Handout)

On August 24, 2016, a new federal medical marijuana law came into effect, replacing outdated rules which forbade medical marijuana patients from growing their own pot. Under the new rules, patients can grow a “limited amount” of their own marijuana.

While this is good news for medical marijuana users, it could present a problem if they own their own home and decide to sell it. Simply put, questions remain whether a user has to disclose that they grew medical marijuana on their property.

The answer is unclear and could differ from province to province, as the real estate industry is regulated provincially.

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia, for example, suggests that sellers tell buyers in writing that pot was grown on their property, even if it was only the legally limited amount.

While marijuana for medical purposes may be grown legally with the necessary licence, the possibility remains that its growth could result in a property defect,” the council’s spokesperson Marilee Peters told Global News in an email.

In some provinces, like Ontario, disclosure isn’t essential where the specified amount was legally grown by a medical marijuana user, as long as it hasn’t caused damage to the property or endangers the buyer.

The problem with growing marijuana, even in small quantities, is that it’s a demanding plant that could cause quite a bit of damage. It needs proper light and proper ventilation in order to prevent mould on plants or in the building. Not to mention, the plant emits a strong smell that could permeate the walls.

Disclosure could be a good idea for several reasons. First of all, many buyers make it a condition of the sales contract to have a home inspection.

If the home inspector discovers the possibility that marijuana was grown in the house, they will let the buyers know. This can result in the buyers asking the seller to lower the price or may even dissuade them from buying altogether.

Secondly, if damage resulted due to marijuana being grown and the buyer discovers it after they have bought the house, this may lead to the seller getting sued.

At the end of the day, it’s always best to ask your real estate lawyer and/or agent about disclosure requirements.
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