Cannabis enthusiasts eager to start legally engaging in recreational use may discover unexpected restrictions on where an adult can smoke marijuana when legalization officially reaches Canada on Oct. 17.

Public consumption has been under debate in Calgary for instance, with plans for four public usage sites scrapped after negative community feedback.

Residents of Boardwalk rental properties in Alberta were also in for a surprise this week when they received notices that growing, smoking, or even eating cannabis will be banned by the management.

After specifics of the policy were sent to tenants, Boardwalk director of community development David McIlveen issued this statement clarifying the company’s position:

“We just wanted to understand how we could view legalization within a multi-family facility knowing that safety and reasonable enjoyment were paramount concerns for all our residents.”

According to a report from CBC, the rental company will likely find it difficult to enforce that policy. That skepticism was reinforced by Sarah Eadie from the Edmonton Community Legal Centre.

“They’d have a very hard time, I think, proving that a tenant had violated the policy,” Eadie said. “How the landlord would be able to prove what a tenant did behind a closed door, I don’t know. But it seems unlikely to me. It’s difficult for a landlord to prove even when a tenant is smoking.”

Boardwalk’s non-smoking policy notably doesn’t apply to tobacco, as was clarified by David McIlveen earlier this week when he stated:

“Tobacco is like comparing apples and oranges. It’s a completely different issue – they’re two different substances. Our policy is around marijuana so it doesn’t deal with any of the other legal substances that are available to the public.”

Ally Ismail, a lawyer with Emery Jamieson LLP, has indicated that apparent double standard is likely to lead to a legal battle. Ismail commented:

“I think that it will be an area that will be challenged. It hasn’t been yet, just because the law hasn’t come into effect. But landlords that allow tobacco smoking and prohibit marijuana smoking are likely to be challenged, because they’ll have difficulty of establishing the reasonableness of banning one and not the other.”

A similar fight is already brewing in universities and colleges across the nation, as marijuana advocates vow to battle campus smoking bans.

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