Growing marijuana is a culture and a hobby that provides a sense of empowerment to those that have a genuine interest in this specific type of cultivation and one that has never been a legal option before. The use of recreational marijuana was approved by legislation in October of 2018 and has permitted Ontario residents to smoke cannabis wherever tobacco smoking is permitted. This has also opened up the door for Ontarian’s to legally grow up to four plants in their residence. The initial assumption is that you can only grow marijuana if you have the appropriate outdoor growing capabilities such as a field or area that suits the climate. We’re here to address the questions you may have if you’re living in dense downtown Toronto with the same passion.

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT GROWING MARIJUANA AT HOME IN TORONTO:

1. Am I allowed to grow marijuana inside my building?

When it comes to growing marijuana in Ontario, you are able to grow up to four plants per residence. This may not be the case when it comes to apartment or condo buildings because of mandatory rules associated with the building or the landlord of your unit has restricted this in your lease agreement. If the lease agreement outlines that it is forbidden, you must abide by these rules. After sifting through your lease, I would suggest speaking with management directly or reviewing an updated copy of your building’s policies to see if this is a possibility for you.

If growing marijuana in your building is an option for you, materials must be purchased from the Ontario Cannabis Store or an authorized retail store. Condos and apartments in Toronto make up a large portion of the housing market but you may be wondering if the regulations on growing marijuana differ for a semi, detached or townhome. Your best bet is to communicate your intentions of growing with your insurance provider. The stigmatization of growing indoors is lessening but it still poses risks for home owners. Each property comes with a unique set of rules that are easy to assess when you are prepared to ask the right questions that will directly affect your current situation.

2. How much space do I need, and which materials should I use?

Growing marijuana inside is a lot more resource intensive than growing outdoors, but the benefit is that you have full control of the environment, ultimately producing higher quality product. Marijuana can be grown inside any space such as a closet or a tent – the grower just needs to consider the height and space that each plant will take up in your chosen environment as plants usually double in size. As long as you are choosing the right lights and nutrients, cannabis plants do not need a lot of space to be grown. Refer to this article for tips on which lighting, and air flow methods are the most feasible for your situation.

3. What do I need to know about hydro and added expenses when growing marijuana at home?

It is apparent that growing marijuana will add expenses onto any hydro bill as regulating plants takes about 2,000 kWh to produce per pound. If you are growing indoors it is recommended that you use a type of growing kit or hydroponic tent to reduce costs. It is reported that growers spend as little as $5 extra dollars per month in hydro when using this method and it is just as effective.

4. As a landlord, what do I need to know about the new laws regarding growing marijuana inside a Toronto home?

The first thing to look at as a landlord is what restrictions or permissions you have included in your written lease agreement. Under the Residential Tenancy Agreement you are able to specify smoking rules. If you do not want your tenants growing or smoking marijuana in the property you own, a written agreement signed by the tenant restricts them from doing so. You will want to schedule inspections on a regular basis to make sure your tenant is abiding by the rules that you have outlined. You must provide 24 hours notice to your tenant specifying the time, date and length of entry and your tenant does not have to be home during this inspection. If you do allow growing and/or smoking in your agreement but are worried about smell and increase in hydro, I would suggest implementing a rule that your tenant can only use hydroponic options such as grow kits as these reduce the smell and barely affect the hydro bill. Refer to this article for some options that use LED lighting to reduce hydro costs.

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5. How do I get rid of the smell? What precautions can I take to avoid angering my neighbours and/or landlord while growing marijuana indoors?

Odour only really starts to kick in in the final 6 weeks of your grow cycle. Until then, if you are regularly checking the air flow, as well as the humidity and temperature, the smell will not be overpowering. Unfortunately, the best practice for the final 6 weeks is simply masking the smell with odour eliminating gels or sprays. Although it does not remove the odour entirely, it will make the area smell more pleasant. You may also want to consider using a hydroponic grow box which is a discrete and easy way to grow inside your apartment or Toronto home. Refer to this article for everything you need to know about using an indoor hydroponic system. This article explains set up, seed selection and how to begin.

6. What are potential red flags I could face while growing marijuana in my Toronto home?

One of the biggest concerns that tenants, landlords, and building owners have about growing inside an apartment or condo complex is that growing requires high levels of humidity and electricity. Another aspect a landlord may investigate is if the smell is impeding on other residences enjoyment. If it is becoming a nuisance to other owners or renters in the building, the landlord is more likely to forbid the act of growing and/or smoking in the lease agreement.

7. How does growing marijuana indoors affect the housing market? Will this reduce the value of your home?

Growing cannabis will likely not cause any negative affects to the value of your home, especially in Toronto where inventory is so tight assuming you only grow up to 4 plants and that there are no lingering smells or damage. We recommend relocating your plants to another home while selling. During the process of staging your home to get top dollar, you start to consider things such as replacing that ugly massive brown recliner in the middle of the room. If you’ve considered the space and affect that ugly furniture has, moving your pot plants through the selling or renting process is a no brainer.

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8. Can Growing marijuana at home cause damage?

A huge stigmatization that growers face is that everyone who grows marijuana is cultivating a “grow op”. This is not the case when looking at 1-4 plants grown per home. The main issue is the amount of moisture produced while tending to plants and if mould will be a repercussion of this. The reality is that 1-4 plants does not produce nearly enough moisture to encourage mould. Major damage can be caused to a household but this only happens when the number of plants is far beyond the legal limit. Putting in research about which growing option is best for you and your current situation is your best bet.

9. I have a smoke free condo building – where do I go from here?

Some boards have already banned smoking and growing in their buildings entirely with the exception of medical cannabis users. As mentioned earlier, the best way to check if these restrictions apply to you is to speak to management directly. This is an ongoing topic that is put up for debate by landlords and building owners BUT by law, as of right now, it is legal assuming your building hasn’t already put regulations into place. This will be revisited down the line but as it stands, if you are respectful and understand which aspects of growing in such a dense area pose threats, you should not have a problem.