nova scotia

Weird weed laws in Nova Scotia: banned by landlords but allowed at golf courses?

As Canada cruises towards legalization, Nova Scotia’s cannabis laws are shaping up in some strange ways. Did you know Nova Scotians face the possibility of being banned from consuming (and even handling!) cannabis on their private property while you can freely blaze at the local golf course?

Some landlords ban practically everything except thinking about cannabis in Nova Scotia

A property management company in Nova Scotia sent the letter pictured below to residents of one of their buildings that details changes being made to their Lease Agreements in response to cannabis legalization which basically says no cannabis. At all.

Photo courtesy of One Man Smoke Show.
Photo courtesy of One Man Smoke Show.

According to the letter:

“No resident, occupant, guest or visitor is permitted to smoke, vape, grow, cultivate, sell, handle or distribute recreational cannabis anywhere on the property, including within private units.”

That means cannabis is banned in all indoor, private, public, common, and outdoor areas of the property.

Mind you, that’s only for recreational cannabis- there is no mention of medicinal cannabis anywhere in the letter. But you can bet that there are residents and cannabis activists already gearing up to fight these draconian restrictions.

As activist D. Rutter pointed out in response to the letter on Facebook,

So “legalization” means nobody can use cannabis in public, and only those who own their own house can use in private?”

Is that what you think of when you picture legalization?

If you’re wondering how this is possible, take a look at the bottom of the letter where there’s (an almost comically) long link

that residents would have to manually type into their browsers because this is a piece of paper that can’t hyperlink, which makes you wonder why the landlord couldn’t have at least provided an easier URL? But I digress.

If you follow that link, you’re brought to a page titled New Rules for Tenants and Landlords Cannabis Control Act and the Residential Tenancies Act that says:

“Landlords now have the authority to amend existing leases to put new rules in place about recreational cannabis smoking and cultivation.”

Also, landlords must provide 4 months’ written notice of changes any time before Apr. 30, 2019. That’s why, for this letter dated May 25th, the change is effective as of October 1, 2018.

Once tenants have received this notice, they have one month to decide whether they still want to live there, and if they’re moving out, they must give their landlord a 3 months’ heads up.

Another stipulation of these new rules is that any changes must comply with section 9A of the Residential Tenancies Act.

What is Section 9A of Nova Scotia’s Residential Tenancies Act?

Section 9A of the Residential Tenancies Act outlines the “reasonable rules” that landlords can establish, and it sets out the criteria for what constitutes reasonable.

If this goes to court, it’s most likely it will come down to whether or not these rules are reasonable, which means that the landlord has to prove the rules:

      • (i) promote a fair distribution of services and facilities to the occupants of the residential premises,
      • (ii) promote the safety, comfort or welfare of persons working or residing in the residential premises, or
      • (iii) protect the landlord’s property from abuse

But expect tenants (or their lawyers) to argue that they are entitled to reasonable enjoyment of their own residence.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to recreational cannabis?

Smoke-free Places Act: Smoking cannabis banned everywhere except golf courses and rented campsites

Nova Scotia’s Smoke-Free Places Act, according to CTV, bans the smoking or vaping of cannabis near playgrounds, publicly owned sport and recreation sites, public trails, and provincial parks and beaches — except within a rented campsite.

In the third reading of Nova Scotia’s Cannabis Control Act, Karla MacFarlane, the Progressive Conservatives interim leader, said,

It is truly difficult to believe that we have arrived at third reading of Bill No. 108 [aka Nova Scotia’s Cannabis Control Act], and not one amendment was accepted.

We couldn’t even get the NDP to support us [against the leading Liberal party] in eliminating golf courses from allowing you to light up a joint while playing the historic and growing sport amongst our youth.”

And yeah, it may sound kind of weird that there is an exception made for golf courses, but if you were allowed to toke up before teeing off, couldn’t it drastically cut back on the swearing and thereby save innocent children’s ears?

Or perhaps the Liberal’s rationale was that golf courses are wide open with enough room for the smoke to dissipate and not bother the people behind you, as long as you don’t hold them up too much?

But PC leader MacFarlane has a different theory, telling Halifax Today, “For some reason, those individuals must have had some amount of power over government at the time because golf courses are exempt”. But wait, since campsites are also exempt as previously mentioned, does that mean the camping lobby is in on it too?

I’m joking, of course, but what I am wondering is why she’s trying to take away the last few places where cannabis smoking in public is allowed in Nova Scotia (at least for now), and what does she really have against enjoying a little green on the greens?


Featured image courtesy of Golf Nova Scotia.


CTV News Atlantic: N.S. cannabis legislation sets fines, syncs weed and alcohol penalties.

Government of Nova Scotia: Residential Tenancies Act.

Government of Nova Scotia: Cannabis Control Act- Bill 108.

Government of Nova Scotia: Cannabis Control Act 3rd Reading Debates and Proceedings

Halifax Today: Nova Scotia Liberals say weed can be smoked on golf courses.

One Man Smoke Show: Halifax Consumption Ban.