As the Smoke Clears: How Do Canadian Homeowners and Renters Feel About Legal Cannabis?


Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act, has now been in place for nearly a year, making it legal for Canadians across the nation to consume the drug, and to grow it within the comfort of their own homes in most provinces; with the exception of Manitoba and Quebec, aspiring green thumbs can cultivate up to four plants within a private residence without a license. This includes owned single-family homes, as well as rental and multi-family residences, as long as the activity falls within condo board or property management guidelines.

But how have Canadian attitudes changed toward cannabis usage and cultivation in the home since it was granted its legal status? Could the presence of the drug turn prospective home buyers off certain MLS listings? How do homeowners feel about the presence of nearby dispensaries? And how aware are condo and rental residents of the rules governing lighting up in their units? 

To find out, Zoocasa conducted an online poll of over 1,300 Canadians between September 17 to 29, 2019, on the following sentiments:

  • Consumption and cultivation of cannabis in private residences
  • Living in close proximity to where cannabis is sold
  • Awareness of landlords, renters, and condo dwellers of their rights and the rules that govern cannabis usage in their homes

Canadians Warming Up to Nearby Dispensaries

When it comes to new dispensary businesses opening up in the neighbourhood, Canadians are generally feeling more at ease with their presence – a total of 43% of respondents agreed they would be comfortable with such a business operating in proximity to their home, compared to the 31% who indicated as such last year.

However, those who don’t own real estate in their neighbourhood were more likely to indicate they are comfortable – a total of 56% of renters were in agreement, compared to just 36% of homeowners. As well, respondents who identified as millennials (born between 1981 – 1996) were most comfortable with nearby dispensaries than older generations; 56% indicated as such, compared to a combined 34% of Gen Xers (1965 – 1980) and Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964).

As well, Canadians aren’t too worried that the presence of a dispensary would hurt the value of nearby homes, and overall sentiment appears to have improved from pre-legalization. A total of 32% of respondents felt that dispensaries would have a negative impact on nearby home values, down from 42% last year. Homeowners were more likely to agree with the sentiment, at 35%, compared to 25% of renters. Again, Millennials are less likely to be concerned, with 24% in agreement, compared to 38% of older generations.

Put It Out!

Legal or not, when it comes to smoking inside, there’s still a strong perception that doing so will have negative implications for the property, including its value and condition – a sentiment that hasn’t changed over time. More than half of both homeowners (64%) and renters (53%) agree that smoking cannabis inside would devalue a home.

Home Cultivation Gets a Green Light

However, the stigma has lessened slightly in regard to the cultivation of cannabis inside the home – when asked if even a legal amount of the drug grown on the premises would dissuade respondents from buying it, 48% of Canadians agreed, down from 52% in 2018. 

Not surprisingly, in line with other results, millennials were less likely to be swayed by a home-grown crop, with 38% in agreement, compared to 53% of older generations. 


Legal Cannabis a Growing Concern for Landlords

According to the survey, landlords strongly prefer that cannabis not be grown or consumed within their properties – 85% of respondents who identified as owning rental properties agreed they would rather have tenants who did not engage in such behaviour. As well, now that cannabis is legal, they have become increasingly concerned about related damage to their properties, with 57% in agreement. 

As well, a total of 55% of landlords said they would consider charging higher rents to future tenants to cover potential cannabis-related damages.


However, when it comes to understanding the guidelines around cannabis in their homes, renters indicated they were the most knowledgeable; when asked whether they were aware of the rules put in place by their condo board or building management, a total of 76% of renter respondents agreed they were, compared to 66% of homeowners. As well, 53% of renters said they understood their rights when it came to smoking or cultivating cannabis inside their home, while only 43% of landlords said they understood what could and couldn’t be enforced within their rental.

Neither group appeared willing to break the rules put in place by their board or landlord, though; just 9% of renters and 7% of homeowners said they would still smoke cannabis inside their homes, even if it was against property management guidelines. However, a combined total of condo-dwelling respondents of 21% said they would break the rules, despite 72% saying they were aware of them.

Statistics at a Glance

  • I am comfortable with the presence of a cannabis dispensary in my neighbourhood
    • All respondents
      • Agree: 43%
      • Disagree: 31%
      • Neutral: 26%
    • Homeowners
      • Agree: 36%
      • Disagree: 34%
      • Neutral: 30%
    • Renters
      • Agree: 56%
      • Disagree: 25%
      • Neutral: 19%
    • Millennials
      • Agree: 56%
      • Disagree: 24%
      • Neutral: 20%
    • GenX + Baby Boomers
      • Agree: 34%
      • Disagree: 36%
      • Neutral: 30%
  • Cannabis dispensaries will reduce the value of homes in my neighbourhood
    • All respondents
      • Agree: 32%
      • Disagree: 39%
      • Neutral: 29%
    • Homeowners
      • Agree: 35%
      • Disagree: 35%
      • Neutral: 30%
    • Renters
      • Agree: 25%
      • Disagree: 48%
      • Neutral: 27%
    • Millennials
      • Agree: 24%
      • Disagree: 50%
      • Neutral: 26%
    • GenX + Baby Boomers
      • Agree: 38%
      • Disagree: 31%
      • Neutral: 31%
  • Smoking cannabis inside homes will decrease the home’s value
    • All respondents
      • Agree: 61% 
      • Disagree: 17% 
      • Neutral: 22%
    • Homeowners
      • Agree: 64%
      • Disagree: 15%
      • Neutral: 21% 
    • Renters
      • Agree: 53%
      • Disagree: 24%
      • Neutral: 23%
    • Millennials
      • Agree: 55%
      • Disagree:20%
      • Neutral: 25%
    • GenX + Baby Boomers
      • Agree: 64%
      • Disagree:16 %
      • Neutral: 20%
  • Even a legal amount of cannabis cultivated in a home would reduce my desire to buy that property
    • All respondents
      • Agree: 48% 
      • Disagree: 31%
      • Neutral: 22%
    • Millennials
      • Agree: 38%
      • Disagree: 42%
      • Neutral: 20%
    • GenX + Baby Boomers
      • Agree: 53%
      • Disagree:23 %
      • Neutral: 24%
  • CONDO/APARTMENT RESIDENTS: I am aware of my condo board/property management rules around smoking cannabis inside my unit
    • All Condo/Apartment Residents:
      • Agree: 72%
      • Disagree: 14%
      • Neutral: 14%
    • Homeowners
      • Agree: 66%
      • Disagree: 16%
      • Neutral: 18%
    • Renters
      • Agree: 76%
      • Disagree: 14% 
      • Neutral: 11%
  • CONDO/APARTMENT RESIDENTS: I would smoke cannabis inside my unit even if the condo board/property management didn’t allow it
    • All Condo/Apartment Residents:
      • Yes: 11%
      • Not sure: 10%
      • No: 24%
      • I don’t smoke: 55%
  • RENTERS: As a renter, I know my rights regarding smoking and cultivating cannabis inside my home.
    • All renters
      • Agree: 53%
      • Disagree: 25%
      • Neutral: 23% 
  • RENTERS: As a renter, I would smoke or cultivate cannabis inside my home even if my landlord didn’t allow it
    • All renters
      • Yes: 9%
      • Not sure: 11%
      • No: 28%
      • I don’t smoke or cultivate: 52% 

  • LANDLORDS: I currently know my rights regarding what can and can’t be enforced when it comes to my tenants smoking and cultivating cannabis
    • All landlords
      • Agree: 43%
      • Disagree: 30%
      • Neutral: 27%
  • LANDLORDS: I would prefer to have tenants that do not smoke or grow cannabis inside the home
    • All landlords
      • Agree: 85% 
      • Disagree: 6%
      • Neutral: 8%
  • LANDLORDS: I’m more concerned about damage to my property now that cannabis has been legalized
    • All landlords
      • Agree: 57%
      • Disagree: 24% 
      • Neutral: 20%
  • LANDLORDS: In the future, I would consider charging higher rent to cover potential damages from smoking or cultivating cannabis
    • All landlords
      • Agree: 55%
      • Disagree: 22%
      • Neutral: 23%

Methodology

The findings are based on an online survey conducted by Zoocasa Realty from Sep 17, 2019 to Sep 29, 2019 of 1,307 respondents in Canada. A margin of error cannot be assigned because it is an online survey, however the margin of error for a comparable sample of the same size is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About Zoocasa

Zoocasa is a full-service brokerage that offers advanced online search tools to empower Canadians with the data and expertise they need to make more successful real estate decisions. View real estate listings at zoocasa.com or download our free iOS app.

For more information about this report or to set up a media interview, please email [email protected]

About Penelope Graham

Penelope Graham is the Managing Editor at Zoocasa, and has over a decade of experience covering real estate, mortgage, and personal finance topics. Her commentary on the housing market is frequently featured on both national and local media outlets including BNN Bloomberg, CBC, The Toronto Star, National Post, and The Huffington Post. When not keeping an eye on Toronto's hot housing market, she can be found brunching in one of the city's many vibrant neighbourhoods, travelling abroad, or in the dance studio.