High Time for Change

May 01, 2019

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Posted by
Matt Mayers

In October 2018, cannabis became legalized across Canada, and in BC individuals are now allowed to legally grow up to four plants per residence. This new legislation change has made it increasingly important for the government to ensure that homes used in drug operations are made safe.

There are many potential harms associated with growing cannabis in homes, such as mould, as plants need high humidity, and electrical and fire hazards. British Columbians understand these risks. A February 2019 survey indicated 73 per cent of respondents would not choose to live in a home where cannabis was grown, and two thirds said they would not live in a home if they knew their neighbours grew recreational cannabis.

Whether legal or illegal, using homes to produce drugs can cause serious harms to the health and safety of future occupants for years to come. Surprisingly, there are no provincial regulations for how a property should be remediated after it has been used to produce drugs. There is currently a patchwork approach of municipal bylaws and health authority jurisdictions. There is not even a provincial policy that specifies what a "property used to produce drugs" is.

BCREA is advocating for the provincial government to develop a consistent process to remediate buildings used in drug productions to ensure they are safe. In 2018 BCREA commissioned research by the University of the Fraser Valley, who recommended a five-step process to remediate homes.

In April, REALTORS® met with MLAs at our Government Liaison Days to recommend that the government institute a process to ensure healthy homes for British Columbians. Some MLAs expressed interest, and MLA Laurie Throness has recently introduced legislation that, if passed, will develop provincial remediation standards, protecting homeowners and getting more units onto the market. We look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Throness and the BC Government to drive this issue forward.

Read a summary of research by the University of the Fraser Valley or the full research.

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