There has been a lot of chatter around legalizing marijuana in Canada recently after Federal Liberal Leader, Justin Trudeau, admitted to smoking the substance as recently as three years ago.
Regardless of where you stand on this debate, REALTORS ® know that properties formerly used to manufacture illegal substances can pose numerous issues for home buyers, including: mould, chemical contamination, dangerous structural alterations and hazardous electrical rewiring. A home owner that unknowingly purchases such a property may find themselves faced with expensive renovation costs, and numerous health and safety issues.
REALTORS® are required by law to disclose any information that may influence a home buyer’s decision to buy a home, including if the property has been used as a former marijuana grow operation (MGO) and/or clandestine laboratory. Although REALTORS® want to ensure they disclose this information; the absence of a province wide registry makes it difficult to do so.
In December 2011, the RCMP announced the establishment of a national registry for MGOs. The RCMP’s limited jurisdiction in Ontario has meant that only a handful of properties appear on the registry; although, the issue is much more prevalent.
More action is needed at the provincial level to protect home owners. Last spring, Lisa MacLeod, MPP for Nepean-Carleton, introduced Bill 29- Clandestine Drug Operations Prevention Act, 2013. The bill would require municipalities to register remediation work orders on the title of former grow op properties. This information could then be accessed by licensed professionals to ensure that consumers are protected. The bill passed first reading on March 7, 2013. OREA supports Bill 29, and will continue to monitor developments in this new legislative session.