Weed in Leaside? How does your garden grow?

Cannibis Plant. Photo by iStock.
Photo by iStock.

Leaside is renowned for its greenery, originally laid out a century ago on garden city principles, featuring long curved streets lined with trees. Lots of trees! 

Many Leaside homeowners and renters have green thumbs. They are spending a lot of time gardening, especially during the current pandemic, when so many of us are housebound. As you walk around Leaside, you see a wealth of blooming plants. Among them, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, foxglove, and earlier this season, lilies of the valley and daffodils.

Increasingly, cannabis is also making an appearance in local gardens. Should it be treated differently from other plants? The Leaside Residents Association now represents renters as well as owners, and we’ve been asked whether, now that cannabis is legal, landlords may forbid their tenants from planting it in their common gardens, Unlike the other above-mentioned plants, cannabis is not considered toxic. But it remains controversial despite being a legal product.

As far as the LRA is concerned, where there is disagreement we much prefer that both parties try to come to an understanding, rather than our intervening. But here’s what the law says: according to the federal Cannabis Act, individuals may grow up to four plants in a residence, and “in a yard, garden, or any similar land” which is under or next to their unit. This is the case for both home owners and renters.

However, landlords may include restrictions or conditions in the tenancy agreement signed by both landlord and tenant before the tenant moves in. If there is no mention there regarding what may or may not be planted, it appears that cannabis can be legally planted.

While still on the subject of cannabis, have you noticed how cannabis stores (aka “pot shops”) have been proliferating along Bayview Avenue? The economic impact of the pandemic has led to the closure of many of Bayview’s smaller businesses, creating numerous vacancies. The “weed” business has moved right in. Quite a few of you have questioned whether there should be limitations on their numbers, and suggested the LRA complain to the City that Bayview has reached a critical mass. Or, in fact, reached that point a few months ago. But the matter is under the province’s jurisdiction, not Toronto’s, and other than restrictions such as how close a cannabis store may be located to a school, for instance, these shops are allowed.

The LRA board of directors hopes we will soon be able to hold in-person monthly meetings again, although at the moment the situation is still unclear. Thanks to technology, we can at least maintain accessibility to our meetings via Zoom. During this period of social distancing we want to continue to be as accessible as possible.

If you wish to be a deputant or part of a deputation to the LRA’s next online meeting on OCTOBER 7th at 7:30 p.m., please contact us by that date (lpoa.ca) and we will supply you with the information to link to it. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

About Carol Burtin Fripp 94 Articles
Carol Burtin Fripp is Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, and is Chair of the LRA's Traffic Committee. Over the years, she has served on numerous East York and City task forces. Now a retired television producer (TVO and CBC), she writes Leaside Life's monthly LRA column, and has created a daily international current affairs newsletter read from Newfoundland to New Zealand.