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Posted by on Mar 2018 in Features, Member Support, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Clearing up the Confusion about Cannabis Pt.1

Canabis plantThe use of recreational and medical cannabis is a hot topic in Ontario right now, and it has raised a number of questions for non-profit housing providers. To help clear up some of the confusion, below are answers to the most common questions ONPHA’s Member Support Team has received on this issue over the past several weeks.

Question: Do I have to allow the smoking or growing of cannabis inside of a unit?

Answer: In short, no. As the property owner or landlord, you do not have to allow a tenant to smoke or grow either medical or recreational cannabis.

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects the use of medical cannabis to treat or control symptoms of a disability. However, that doesn’t necessarily give a tenant the right to use it on the premises, including inside of their rental unit.

Under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which replaced the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in 2016, a tenant must get authorization from the property owner to grow cannabis. However, individuals authorized to possess or to produce cannabis for medical purposes under the MMPR did not require permission, and may continue to produce cannabis under an interim injunction with an undefined end date.

Question: What are the insurance implications associated with cannabis?

Answer: First and foremost, we encourage you to consult with your insurance provider. According to the Housing Services Corporation (HSC), their Group Insurance Program had very few insurance files dealing with cannabis. Most claims relate to smoking tobacco and medical oxygen, with 20 per cent related to careless smoking.

HSC has advised they will not cancel property, liability, tenants’, directors’ or officers’ insurance coverage due to tenant cannabis use. To manage risk, HSC will modify their claim cause codes to identify and track any claims related to cannabis.

Question: Do I have to accommodate the use of medical cannabis? If so, how do I determine if a tenant is indeed using medical cannabis and not recreational cannabis?

If the tenant claims to use medical cannabis and asserts their right to use it inside of their unit, you can ask to see their medical document authorizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The document may outline limitations and disability-related needs, such as:

  • Smoking as a method of administering is necessary for treatment
  • Medically significant symptoms make locating outside too much of a hardship, therefore the tenants requires in-unit use

Providers cannot ask about diagnoses. Accommodations for medical cannabis must be made on a case-by-case basis and measures should be taken up to the point of undue hardship.

Stay tuned for part two of this article. 


Additional Resources:

Check out ONPHA’s Smoke-Free Apartment Buildings and Medical Marijuana infoON for more tips and samples. If you have further questions, contact ONPHA’s Member Support Team at


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