Will the legal growing and smoking of marijuana (cannabis) in my home lower my property value?

Starting October 17th, 2018, (subject to provincial or territorial restrictions), “adults who are 18 years of age or older would be able legally to: … grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use” http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

How will this ruling affect homeowners? Will growing, or even just using cannabis affect your property value?

“On the surface [four plants] sounds moderate, but the legislation doesn’t limit the number of crops or the size of each plant. Four plants could yield over five kilograms a year, which has the potential to cause structural damage to dwellings and comes with associated health consequences,” Michael Bourque said, chief executive officer of Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) in an appearance before the Senate. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/realtors-home-cultivation-cannabis-1.4642118

Growing of the plants raises a few issues, as it turns out.

  • “Home grow” could lead to the spread of mould and other fungi in residences across the country and physical effects of a grow op can often go undetected during a home inspection.

 

  • The use of fertilizers and pesticides in the growing process could exacerbate environmental health risks in a home or multi-unit dwelling that shares air circulation

 

  • Homes affected by cannabis growth are harder to insure and sell

 

  • Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) estimates remediation costs to restore a former grow op to a livable standard can run anywhere from $50,000 to well over $100,000

 

  • Landlords are finding ways to stop the growing in their properties, such as converting apartments to condominiums, which could push out low-income renters

 

Despite the legalization, the expected outcome of the new legislation is that only a few will grow their own cannabis, and that the majority will purchase their cannabis products from a legal seller. This is similar to how it is legal to brew home-made beer and wine at home, yet most choose to purchase these products from stores. Some have also argued that four plants is not at all like a full blown grow-op.

Smoking cannabis at home also leaves certain considerations. Secondhand smoke from marijuana has many of the same chemicals as smoke from tobacco. Similar to tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke lingers, and can permeate drywall, carpets etc. This smell may be difficult to remove, and the second hand smoke lingering in the home is known to have harmful health effects, comparable to tobacco. https://no-smoke.org/secondhand-marijuana-smoke-fact-sheet/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/secondhand-marijuana-smoke-and-kids-2018060514012

 

Both sides considered, it is very important to carefully weigh the decision to grow or smoke marijuana at home. Although certain aspects of growing or smoking – such as the distinct smell of cannabis, can be mitigated (such as with ventilation), other aspects may not be as easy to tackle.

“There’s absolutely no question it impacts the value of the home,” Michael Bourque, chief executive officer of CREA, when referring to “home growing”.

And while we should take statements like these from the CEO of CREA seriously, in the end, it is up to the homeowner to make decisions on growing or using cannabis, while considering the potential effects on their health, lifestyle and property value.