UPDATE: On Tuesday, June 19 Canadian lawmakers approved The Cannabis Act, making it legal for adults to buy and consume marijuana across the country. Canadians will be able to buy and smoke recreational marijuana on Oct. 17, 2018.
Legal, regulated marijuana retail sales are coming to Canada very soon, but lighting up your newly purchased Ontario Cannabis Store spliff in your condo or apartment could be — or may already be — prohibited (depending on where you live).
Many condo boards have yet to determine how to cope with cannabis use in the building.
As legalization heats up this summer, however, these boards may be forced to draft a policy on consumption. And depending on neighbours’ reactions to legal reefer, some boards might take a prohibitionist stance.
The Condominium Act already prohibits smoking in a manner that impacts the health of others. For instance, smoke can’t escape from a unit into common areas or a neighbour’s unit. But problems may arise if and when it comes to limiting marijuana odours.
Enthusiasts love the smell of cannabis terpenes — and aroma is one of the key criteria when judging weed’s worthiness. But not everyone shares this enthusiasm when, to the untrained nose, it stinks like a family of skunks have run wild in the hallway.
And you don’t have to be a consumer of pot to raise a stink.
I’m not opposed to a totally scent-free building because of health issues. And I’ve always been in favor of a “cannabis consumer’s condo,” complete with rooftop community garden. (Though it could become too Rochdale College.)
Those options aside, however, we need to consider how this will affect residents’ rights on both sides of the issue.
While the subjectiveness of smells might make it difficult to enforce a ban, it could create a situation where people who are offended by other odours seek prohibition.
And having fought prohibition in the streets and the courts for close to 20 years, I’d recommend to the condo boards that they balance both consumers’ and non-consumers’ choices: Instead of outright prohibition, asking consumers of marijuana to cover up the smell is the most sensible option.
Here are five ways that the weed enthusiast can do this, and avoid the attention of the building’s Helen Lovejoy:
1. Choose to smoke on the balcony.
Just be aware that this could result in smoke actually going into a neighbouring unit. The Cannabis Act prevents public inhalation, which could include a balcony.
2. Buy or make a Smoke Buddy.
Students in dorms have been known to make these by stuffing a toilet paper roll with dryer sheets. Using an elastic band, they’ll put dryer sheets on both ends and exhale cannabis smoke into it.
Cannabis growers will use Ona to neutralize smells and tokers can too.
4. Choose to vaporize and not smoke joints.
In my opinion, this is possibly the best option for people who want to consume cannabis. Vaporizers greatly reduce the cannabis smells associated with joint-smoking.
An incense burner is an old school method of hiding pot smoking. The Scentsy burner is easily plugged into an outlet and has many different fragrances capable of covering most bad smells including weed.