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Major rental company bans cannabis inside all of its units in Alberta
With pot becoming legal to smoke in Canada next month, many marijuana users are likely looking forward to the day they can freely light up, but one major rental property owner in Alberta has banned the substance from all of its properties.
Boardwalk Rental Communities a corporation that has over 5,500 units in Calgary and 22,000 across Alberta including Red Deer says it is in the process of changing leasing agreements that will prevent anyone who rents from them from smoking pot.
David McIlveen, director of community development with Boardwalk, says the company decided to prohibit cannabis primarily for safety reasons connected to the cultivation of the drug, but it also took into account reasonable enjoyment by residents.
“Our buildings are not made to cultivate large plants that require quite a lot of moisture and have been known to produce mold which impacts the safety of our residents.”
He adds that they aren’t going to be treating cannabis the same way as tobacco, because they are two different substances.
“It’s apples and oranges. They’re not related. Another thing to note is that when all of our residents moved in, there was no prohibition against smoking cigarettes and we didn’t institute a rule within the properties that we own that there would be no smoking which would be our perogative.”
While some renters in Calgary will have some protection, homeowners living in close quarters with cannabis users are still holding their breath.
Sue Tyerman, who has lived in her Chapparal home for the past nine and a half years, started smelling something funny next door when she got some new neighbours about a year ago.
“When they first moved in and they made our garage smell that way. I told them I’ve got young kids and I can’t have my car smelling that way. They were understanding.”
At first, it was easy to manage, but now the situation has gotten so bad that she’s contacted everyone she can to try and get help.
“Then we started smelling it in the bathroom and smelling it in the kitchen and I’ve left them notes about how my kids are smelling this and it’s affecting our whole house now,” she says. “I found that nobody will help me. I’ve talked to the MLA’s office, the MP’s office, everyone has just said we can’t help you.”
According to city by-laws, anyone who wants to smoke in their own home, no matter if it’s tobacco or marijuana, they can as long as the smoke doesn’t become a threat to public safety.
Tyerman says that she is okay with cannabis, but doesn’t want it to affect her life at home.
“I understand that pot is going to be legal next month but it shouldn’t affect us if we don’t want to be a part of that. People are free to smoke it, but they shouldn’t expose other people when we’re in the safety and comfort of our own home.”
The only exception to Boardwalk’s no-pot guidelines will be medicinal marijuana and those will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
McIlveen says that letters have been sent out to renters informing them about the change and hasn’t had any complaints about it so far.
As for Tyerman, she says she is still waiting to hear back from her councillor, Peter Demong, about the problem.
(With files from Chris Epp)