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OREA laments rejection of cannabis recommendation

The legalization of recreational cannabis came along with the dismissal of a Senate recommendation that would have given provinces the power to restrict the growing of marijuana on residential properties.

The rejection was roundly condemned by the Ontario Real Estate Association.

“Provinces should have the ability to protect home owners and communities from the problems associated with former grow ops,” OREA CEO Tim Hudak said in the group’s statement earlier this week.

“Former cannabis grow operations, even on a small scale, can pose significant health and safety issues for unsuspecting home buyers – in particular young children and the elderly. These risks are often masked by owners of existing grow operations when the property is sold making it very difficult for home buyers and Realtors to detect.”

OREA has been pushing for a 5-point action plan that would serve as guideposts for the industry amid marijuana legalization. The plan calls for the categorization of illegal grow operations as unsafe property, the thorough inspection of former illegal grow operations, the registration of former grow operations, the growing restriction for units smaller than 1,000 square feet to one plant, and mandatory training for home inspectors.

JLL Canada manager of capital markets research Gaurav Mathur has earlier stated that cannabis legalization will impel growers and sellers to seek real estate in much of Toronto, thus helping pump up local revenue as well.

“It’s a new industry opening up and will have a pull going forward,” Mathur said, as quoted by the Toronto Star.

Toronto’s land transfer revenue for Q1 2018 exceeded expert predictions by $30.7 million, a development that acting chief financial officer Joe Farag attributed to “a number of (commercial) transactions.”

The Toronto city council has projected over $800 million in land tax revenue by the end of 2018, a sharp departure from the modest estimates of years past.

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