Pot Legalization in Surrey, British Columbia Canada: What Homeowners, Buyers & Sellers Need to Know

Surrey Real Estate

The legalization of pot might be a win in some industries, but it has caused a huge distress in the housing industry. Before October 17th, buying legal pot in Surrey came with several barriers. Now, recreational pot is available to all users. The government passed the C-45 Bill to make cannabis accessible to users while supporting public health by regulating negative health effects and poor social outcomes (from pot use). However, many are concerned about the effect of this new freedom on the property values in Surrey.

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How the Legalization of Pot might affect Property Values in Surrey, B.C.

The future might seem green, but many are convinced that the new cannabis laws will affect property value in Surrey. Beyond personal ethics and sentiments, property owners are also concerned with cannabis-causing damages to properties and the extent of insurance coverage.

Property owners, buyers, and renters have made their concerns very clear, which led Zoocasa to conduct a research involving 1,300 Canadians. The goal was to understand how homeowners and residents feel about the legalization of cannabis.

The result of their survey shows that most residents believe the legalization of cannabis is a bad idea. 64% of residents believed that the new laws will have a negative impact on the resale value of their properties. This concern is largely tied to the fact that residents are now allowed to grow a maximum of four cannabis plants per household.

The stigma does not just cover homes that are being used to grow cannabis, but any home that has housed cannabis in the past. In fact, 52% of respondents said that they will be less likely to consider a home for sale if cannabis was ever grown in it.

Beyond home grown cannabis, 42% of respondents believe that having a dispensary nearby could reduce the value of homes in an area. This is probably due to the stigma that cannabis users are on the other end of the law. The fear of crimes and juveniles crowding an area can be a real cause for concern in homeowners and renters.

If millennials were the only group buying and renting homes, the new cannabis law will only pose a minor problem. Only 31% of millennials believed that a nearby dispensary will reduce the value of nearby homes. A majority of the millennial respondents showed no negative response to living near a dispensary.  

As expected, renters and homeowners living in small apartments and condos might find the new cannabis freedom a problem for them. Even before the legalization, there were heated debates on the need for special pot growing and smoking laws for people who live in apartment units. 61% of the respondents believed that apartment residents should not be allowed to smoke in their homes. 64% believed that building owners and property managers should be allowed to place a ban on cannabis use within the property.

Stigma might seem like an emotional reason to devalue properties, but there is also the fear of more fire outbreaks. Surrey’s fire chief, Len Garis, has warned residents and the government about the dangers of growing legalized cannabis at home. In Garis’ opinion, there’s no reason to grow pot at home when users can buy for government-approved stores. His fear of these fire outbreaks comes with recent fire outbreaks that have occurred around the city. Not only does burning cannabis pose a fire hazard, but unsafe modifications to properties (to make them more convenient for pot growing) add to the department’s concerns.

With the public agitations of fire chiefs in B.C., these concerns will most likely come up when a potential homeowner is researching the area. The concerns could drive them from making an offer, affecting property value over time.

Are Homeowners Powerless Against Pot Growers and Users?

The smoking laws which apply to cigarettes also apply to cannabis. This means that if there is a no smoking policy on a property, then residents are also not allowed to smoke cannabis there. However, there’s the issue that cannabis can be consumed in other forms that don’t include burning. Also, residents are allowed to grow cannabis, like any other plant in their garden.

Thankfully, new laws by the provincial government allows property owners to place a ban on growing or smoking cannabis on a property. This law should help stabilize the value of some properties; renters and buyers can choose to go for a property where pot is not allowed.

Are you a Concerned Pot User?

Marijuana and home ownersThe situation might seem hostile, but there are many people who are excited about the legalization of pot. Of course, the government will have never made this move if the benefits were not apparent. As a pot user living in/planning a move to Surrey, B.C., it is expected that you will have some concerns.

If you’re a regular user of marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, you need a good understanding of the purchase and use policies in the area.

The British Columbia online cannabis store sold over 1,000 products within the first hour of its launch. There is also a government store in Kamloops at the Columbia Place Shopping Centre. However, there are still regulations to guide the purchase of cannabis in Surrey. Many people are still confused on what is legal and still illegal, so here are the answers to the common questions from pot users in/planning to move to Surrey.  

  • What is the age restriction?

The minimum age for possession and use of Cannabis is 19 years, as with alcohol. Unlike alcohol, minors cannot enter a cannabis store, with or without a guardian.

  • What variety of pot product are still illegal?

Edibles and vaping are still illegal. There is a plan to make edibles such as brownies and cookies available for legal purchase within the year. However, there is still limited evidence to the effects of vaporizers, so we do not expect to see them in government-regulated stores anytime soon.

  • How much marijuana can an individual carry?

Adults are allowed to carry a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis on them. Each household can also grow at most four legal cannabis plants. If anyone is caught with substance above this limit, it will be assumed that they intend to sell. The plants cannot be grow in spaces used for day care, and should not be seen from a public space.

  • Where can I smoke?

The smoking laws used for tobacco also apply to marijuana. Everywhere cigarettes are banned, including schools, playgrounds, and sports fields will not allow you to smoke marijuana.

  • Can I drive under the influence of THC?

Driving while high could cause accidents, bodily harm, and death. Drivers are not allowed to have THC in their system, and special tools are being developed to correctly identify drugged individuals. Both drivers and passengers are not allowed to smoke inside a car.

Looking to Set Up your own Pot Store?

Regardless of the new bill passed, cannabis entrepreneurs moving to Surrey B.C. should not hold their breath on setting up a cannabis store in Surrey. According to the last report in October, B.C. received 173 paid applications for a cannabis license, and they were all rejected.

How Do I tell if my Pot was Legally Grown?

The regulations in the new bill make it very easy to differentiate between legally grown pot and black market products. The legally grown products will have these features.

  • Packaging, labeling and distribution

Like with tobacco, cannabis retailers are expected to outline the potential risks of using pot on the packaging. Distributors should indicate that the best approach is to not use the product, or delay its use for as long as possible. However, this is unlikely to discourage users from buying.

The federal taxes will also depend on the type of cannabis, i.e. higher taxes for higher THC concentrations.

  • Composition and strength

The legal dispensaries will offer a variety of strains with different THC concentrations. Depending on the cannabis or cannabis-product sold, buyers can access the concentration level that works best for them. However, a maximum of 15% THC concentration should be maintained.

  • Packaging information

The packaging should be plain and simple. The use of graphical elements should be regulated, as the product should not ‘attract’ potential users. The labels should also contain evidence-based warnings, and give full information on customer support channels.

Growing your Own Pot in Surrey, B.C

As expected, many landlords will opt to place a ban on growing cannabis on their properties. Before paying a lease, ensure that you ask the landlord of such ban / the potential for a future ban. Even with residents who are allowed to grow pot, there is a concern that the home growing regulations only benefit rich people.

The law states that cannabis plants are not to be seen from a public space, and a home grower will be penalized if their plants are visible. A rich person can build a fence around their home, or dedicate a secluded window to the plants. A low to middle class resident however, only has limited space to work with.

The effect of pot legalization on property values is still in its early stage. As expected, a balance will be reached eventually when both supporters and opposers find a meeting ground. Until then, as a pot user, it is important to invest in an environment that is supportive of the new laws. Non-pot users also have the opportunity to stay in residents where a ban has been placed on pot use and cultivation.

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