Strata Alert: Canada is the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana

Canada is the second nation in the world to legalize marijuana


Paul G. Mendes, Partner
Phone:  604-685-4894



The Canadian Senate has passed Bill C-45, the federal government’s Cannabis Act, which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana across Canada.  The only other country to legalize marijuana production, sale and consumption on a national level is Uruguay. With this latest development, Canada becomes the first G-7 country to join this so far exclusive club of nations.

The bill is now awaiting Royal Assent, at which time the Federal Government will likely announce the date that the new legislation comes into effect. Although the government campaigned on a July 1 rollout, media reports state that full legalization will take another to 2 to 3 months, as provinces and municipalities come to grips with how they will regulate the use of recreational marijuana.

Once the bill receives royal assent, adults will be able to possess up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public and that they will also be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households, and prepare marijuana products such as “edibles” for personal use.

Consumers who do not grow their marijuana are expected to purchase the product from retailers regulated by the provinces. In British Columbia, marijuana will be regulated under the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and the Cannabis Distribution Act. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch also plans to start selling marijuana later this summer under the creatively named brand “BC Cannabis Stores.” Private businesses will also be eligible to become licensed distributors if they meet the provincially set criteria.

The anxiety in the strata community over this legislation is palpable.  Most of the inquiries we receive are for bylaws banning the use and cultivation of marijuana in strata units.  The provincial Cannabis Control Act will allow adults to grow up to four plants per household. However, the plants must not be visible from public view and cultivation will be banned in homes used as daycares.

The main concern from the strata perspective appears to be the nuisance caused by the skunky smell of second-hand marijuana smoke and the impact of marijuana cultivation on the strata’s insurance premiums.  The previous medical marijuana regime, which resulted in a spread of large-scale marijuana production facilities in non-residential stratas may be to blame for this. Those outfits, which often operated under a cloak of secrecy, raised fears about the increased risk of fire and mold contamination from hydroponic production.  Insurers, for the part, helped stoke those fears higher by threatening to cancel insurance policies unless the strata’s agreed to pay a higher premium.

The federal Cannabis Act is the single most important piece of federal legislation to effect stratas and strata owners in BC since the introduction of the National Building Code. For our part, we will continue to monitor the legal developments in this area so that our clients can make informed decisions about bylaw amendments and bylaw enforcement governing cannabis use in stratas.


WHAT WE DO:  Lesperance Mendes has been advising and representing strata corporations and strata owners on all aspects of bylaw amendment and enforcement. If you or your strata needs legal advice on bylaws regulating the use and production of marijuana in strata units, contact Paul G Mendes, Partner at 604-685-4894 or email Paul at

THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE:  This article provides general information and should not be relied on without independent legal advice.