It’s been a few weeks now since the legalization of cannabis, and the smoke has settled (pun intended). There has been a lot of talk about the various impacts of legalization, but as a Realtor, my mind has been on the effects on real estate.

For some time, there have been issues for properties that have been used for the growth or manufacturing of illegal substances (commonly known as “grow ops”). Most of the issues pertaining to the ability to finance and ensure the property as there are risks associated with mold growth and air quality.

Under the new cannabis legislation, individuals are now legally able to “grow, from licensed seed or seedlings, up to 4 cannabis plants per residence for personal use”. So what do you do if you’re interested in buying a property that is currently growing cannabis legally? As is common with many legislative changes, the government has not provided a handbook on how to handle the impacts of said changes.

In my opinion, potential home buyers need to address 4 issues;

Financing

If an appraisal comes back noting that the home has been used for the growth of cannabis, or its noted it the listing or Agreement itself, this could cause an issue when it comes to obtaining a mortgage. Banks have a tendency not to want to take a lot of risks regarding things that might impact the resale value of the home. As such, it’s certainly possible a bank will not finance a property.

Insurance

Due to the potential for air quality issues, mold, or possible alterations made to the electrical and ventilation systems, insurance companies also shy away from providing traditional home insurance on known “grow ops”.

Inspection

A home inspection is essential with the purchase of any home. But if you’re considering buying a house that has been growing cannabis, it’s critical to have an inspection. You’ll want to ensure there haven’t been any alterations to the property that could create a future issue or non-compliance with the building code. You will also want to consider having the air quality tested, and having additional mold testing to ensure there are not any issues.

Stigma

When a home has been used for illegal purposes uses such as a large scale grow op, there can be a “stigma” associated with the property. This will be something you should consult with your Realtor. Chances are if it complies with the current legislation and only a few plants, there will not be a negative stigma associated with the home, but a consideration none the less.

With the legislation being so fresh, it’s challenging to project the long-term impacts which is why it’s important to take extra caution in the early days of these changes. It will take some time to see how it all plays out.

For more information on Cannabis Legislation visit

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

 

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