Does our condo need a non-smoking policy to avoid going to pot?

J.S. writes:

Dear Paul:

With the advent of the legalization of cannabis, should we have a non-smoking policy or Bylaw? Most people in our building do not smoke so it probably won’t make a difference.

Paul replies:

Dear J.S.:

Bravo to you and your neighbours for not smoking. Having a non-smoking policy is a good idea. If challenged, there is no question then that the board is enforcing a condition of living in your community. A policy can be implemented by the board without unit owner involvement. If challenged, however, it would have less weight than a rule or bylaw. I would recommend having it as a rule. Rules are a bit easier to implement and have the approval of unit owners.

In order to implement a rule, the board needs to follow the process stated in the Condominium Act for providing notice, and if there are no objections, it becomes effective after 30 days.

Keep in mind that the legalization of marijuana even for medical purposes does not stop you from banning smoking. There are alternatives to smoking. Cannabis will soon be available in forms in Canada including oils, lotions, and various edible products. Soft drink companies are looking at getting into the act by offering pot in their sodas. Cannabis may only be one of issues you will have to deal with if you allow smoking in your building.

Those who will argue that a better ventilation system will correct the problem are mistaken. There is no perfect air make-up system, especially in older structures. Nothing will prevent the smoke coming from one unit from drifting into the hallways when doors are open, slip under doors when closed, waft through interconnected ventilation ducts, elevator shafts, stairwells, or from one balcony to another.

Whatever route you take, your policy statement should clear, concise and unambiguous. The main reasons for banning smoking of any kind, are the smell that circulates through the air, the proven dangers of second-hand smoke, the allergic reactions that smoking can trigger, and the difficulty of getting rid of the smell and noxious effects that it leaves behind once it has permeated the walls and carpets. Smoking may reduce a buildings appeal and affect re-sale values.  

Ensure that your policy bans the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vaping and cannabis. I might even speculate that scented candles and incense, depending on the strength of the aroma, the frequency, and amount could also be of concern.

Check with your legal advisors and get a rule or bylaw in place. Everyone’s health will be better for it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.