BCREA: Pot houses pose serious health and safety risks

The BC government’s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat has invited feedback on how best to regulate non-medical marijuana production, distribution and use before it becomes legal [in 2018}.

In response, BCREA submitted a position paper asking the province to develop “a centralized, consistent process for remediation of buildings used in drug operations, to ensure these buildings are safe for people.”

In its submission BCREA also said that it is important that members of the public are informed about buildings which have a history of drug production prior to purchasing or occupying such buildings.

“When a property has been involved in drug production, it can pose serious health and safety risks to the public resulting from mould, chemicals thrown out in the backyard, electrical fires and invasion by criminals looking for drugs, even if the property is no longer being used for drug production.”

BCREA commissioned research to determine what a provincial program might look like.

It has recommended that the province:

  • Develop a centralised, consistent process for disclosure of property history information
  • Describe a healthy building, and then develop a centralized, consistent process for remediation of buildings used in drug operations, to ensure these buildings are safe for people
  • Define a “drug operation” in a meaningful way

BCREA also supports outdoor cultivation, (assuming the soil isn’t contaminated), and a registration system for properties used for personal cultivation. BCREA’s position can be found here.

The following are nine warning signs that CREA suggests should alert REALTORS® to the possibility a house was used to produce drugs:

  1. Modified ductwork that doesn’t seem to make sense
  2. Circular holes in floor joists or roof trusses from venting (look for holes that have been patched)
  3. Chunks of brickwork on the exterior that have been replaced
  4. Brown stains in soffits, created by external venting, or brand-new soffits
  5. Stains on basement floors caused by containers that sat unmoved for long periods of time, or stains in laundry tubs
  6. Modified wiring and electrical panel. Sometimes, live wires can still be in the insulation
  7. New plumbing for water supply and drains
  8. Foundations and concrete walls cored or breached to get wiring around the hydro meter
  9. Warped/rotted wooden structures due to excessive moisture

BCREA encourages members to make submissions to the Secretariat, or complete the online survey. The consultation deadline is November 1.

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