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Renters most comfortable with a cannabis dispensary in their neighbourhood

Renters are more comfortable with having a cannabis dispensary in their neighbourhood, compared to homeowners, according to a recently released survey by Zoocasa, an online brokerage.

Zoocasa polled over 1,300 Canadians online between September 17 to 29, 2019 and found that 56% of renters are fine with having a cannabis dispensary in their neighbourhood compared with just 36% of homeowners. That discrepancy is likely because 32% of homeowners felt that dispensaries would lower home values. That figure, however, declined from 2018 when 42% were concerned, signifying that the stigma of cannabis is diminishing.

The poll sought to discover how and if Canadian attitudes towards cannabis consumption and cultivation in the home had changed one year after bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, was passed.

“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?,” says Penelope Graham, managing editor of Zoocasa.

Canadians are now free to smoke, consume and grow up to four marijuana plants in their home. That law applies to both renters and owners, in any property type as long as it’s allowed by condo and property management bylaws. Manitoba and Quebec are the only provincial exceptions where cannabis cannot be cultivated in the home.

But in contrast to the more open attitudes to neighbourhood dispensaries, the majority of renters (53%) and homeowners (64%) agree that smoking marijuana inside a home would affect the condition of the property and lower its value.

But renters and homeowners agree on one point: pot plants make it harder to sell a house.

Although the legislation is so new that that point hasn’t been fully tested yet, it’s easy to understand why prospective buyers may hesitate to buy these kinds of houses for sale.  Currently, homes for sale that at any point held a growing operation do sell at a significant discount. But a traditional, large-scale illegal operation obviously doesn’t affect a property in the same way as cultivating a few plants for personal use. Younger buyers seem to understand that better: just 38% of Millennials compared to 53% of Gen-Xers and Boomers think that growing cannabis would affect the ultimate purchase price.

But it’s landlords, over owners and renters, who are by far the most concerned about cannabis use.

“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,” Graham says.

In bad news for renters, the majority of landlords would consider hiking up the rent to future tenants to cover any cannabis-related damage.

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 or download our free iOS app.