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Man evicted for smoking pot awarded $3,500

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

(File photo)

(File photo)

 A man who filed a human rights complaint after he was kicked out of his business for smoking pot too frequently has been awarded damages.


His former landlord was dinged for retaliating by preventing the man from entering the property and threatening legal action unless the tenant signed a liabiltity waiver.

According to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision, Taylor Steele had been operating a electronics repair shop called WE Repair on West Broadway in Vancouver.

He’s a medical marijuana user, and testified that he always carried pot on him, and frequently went outside the building to an alleyway — and later at his nearby parked car — to smoke.

“He testified that it works better than other drugs (to treat a car accident-related injury), but that nothing helps him 100% except narcotics,” wrote tribunal member Norman Trerise.

Steele’s neighbours, however, weren’t pleased. One runs a stress control program with young children as clients. Another has a counselling business where some clients suffered from addiction issues “and she was concerned that they might be triggered by the smell.”

Steele was evicted on March 12, 2012. Less than a month later, he was locked out of the premise and had his belongings withheld — unless he was “willing to sign off on a liability waiver.”

The tribunal dismissed Steele’s discrimination complaint for the pot, but awarded him $3,500 in total for the landlord’s “retaliation” against the evicted tenant by way of withholding property and filing legal action.


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