Man evicted from apartment for smoking medical marijuana

A man in the town of Matane has been forced to leave his apartment because of the smell of his medical marijuana. The Régie du Logement ruled in favor of the landlord to evict the tenant, and the court has upheld the decision.  

Ronald Chartier consumes pot to treat pain and anxiety related to a serious car accident and recovery from cancer. But the smell and the smoke bothered his downstairs neighbour, who happened to be one of the co-owners of the building. But even after Chartier began smoking outside, his downstairs neighbour called the Régie du Logement to have him evicted.

“I have to deal with this for the rest of my life,” Chartier said. “I think I should be able to choose what I take that is the best for me.”

One of the Régie’s reasons for evicting him is that Chartier was not cooperative. They said he refused to try other medications, even though marijuana is what helped Chartier the most.

“They said I don’t try enough with other medications,” he said. “For them I should have used something else.”

Chartier was in a verbal contract for his lease with the landlord. According to tenants’ rights lawyer Jonathan Franklin, Quebecers have the right to smoke in their apartments unless it specifies otherwise in the lease.

“Every neighbour, according to Quebec law, has to put up with a certain amount of inconvenience,” Franklin said. “If smoking is not prohibited, then whether it’s tobacco or marijuana, I wouldn’t necessarily see the difference.”

But the Régie decided that the smell was unreasonable, and have forced Chartier to leave. He has nowhere else to go, and is working with social services to find another place to live.

The Régie have said Chartier’s case is one of the first cases dealing with marijuana for medical purposes. There is currently no precedent on the matter.

-Jacob Cohen (CJAD 800)