How does recreational cannabis affect my home or tenant insurance?
Having moved well into the first year of legalized usage of recreational cannabis, we thought it would be a good idea to review the law and its affect on home insurance.
The legislation, depending on the province or territory, allows adults, aged at least 18 or 19 years and older, to:
- Possess in public up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis, or an equivalent, in non-dried form
- Buy dried or fresh cannabis and cannabis oil from a provincially licensed retailer
- Grow up to four cannabis plants in their household, starting from seeds or seedlings purchased from a licensed producer (except in Quebec and Manitoba where home cultivation is not permitted)
- Make cannabis products, such as food and drinks, at home (provided that organic solvents aren’t used).
But how well is the law really understood when it comes to your home insurance? The Insurance Bureau of Canada brought some clarity to the picture by producing a brochure which aimed to answer some of the more common questions.
It should be stressed these answers are subject to your individual policy terms, conditions and limits. You should confirm the details of your specific coverage by talking to your broker.
Q. Does my home insurance cover home-grown cannabis plants?
A. Cannabis and cannabis plants would be treated as any other type of contents or person property. It is only legal to grow up to four plants per household, and not four plants per person. Additionally, both the law and your insurance policy dictate that the seeds, clones or plants must be purchased from a legal source.
Canada allows you to have 30 grams of legal cannabis at one time for personal use. But should you decide to grow your own legal marijuana plants, those will have higher value. Some insurers allow homeowners to list these plants under their content insurance. Call your broker to be sure.
Q. If my medical marijuana is stolen from inside my house, will my insurance cover it.
A. Yes. Insurance is intended to cover your legally acquired personal belongings, including prescribed medication.
Q. Do I have to notify my insurer if I’m growing cannabis plants?
A. You don’t need to notify your insurer as long as you are growing now more than the maximum number of four cannabis plants allowed in your home. However, if you are making significant modifications to your property – whether to grow cannabis or otherwise – you should always check with your broker because these changes can affect your insurance coverage.
If you are a medical cannabis user and want to grow more than the four-plant limit, you must apply to Health Canada to get approval to do so. If you are growing more than four plants, notify your insurer.
If you are a medical cannabis user and a tenant, you have to apply for home cultivation of medical cannabis with Health Canada, and have the landlord or property owner’s consent for you to grow it on their property. If your application is approved, you will receive a registration certificate from Health Canada that shows your legal authority to possess and produce cannabis.
Q. As a landlord, will my insurance cover damage to my rental property caused by my tenant’s illegal grow-op?
A. No. Insurance general doesn’t cover damage caused by your tenant’s illegal activity on your property, even if you were unaware of it.
As the owner of a rental property, the laws of growing and cultivating illegal cannabis still apply to you, even if it is your tenants who decided to grow, or cultivate illegally- sourced marijuana. It is important for your tenant to know the law, and any subsequent private rules – as in the case of a condo for example - when renting out your property.
READ MORE: Get the facts on cannabis in Canada