Should provinces be allowed to outlaw home cultivation of cannabis?

The government of Quebec officially called upon Canadian Senators to insert an amendment in Bill C-45 which would clearly allow provincial governments to outlaw home cultivation of cannabis.

So far, only two provinces announced that they will be outlawing cultivating cannabis at home as a part of security measures to prevent abuse of cannabis and accidental mismanagement of plants in a household.

Even though Manitoba and Quebec may not be the biggest provinces by population, the decision to allow provinces to outlaw growing cannabis at home would have an impact on nearly 7 million Canadians.

The Senate is scheduled to hold a final vote on Bill C-45 by June 7. In case the senators decide to vote in favor of amendments, the bill will return to the House of Commons and the process will definitely spill over into late summer.

Home growing amendment not set in stone

It would seem that Quebec government is insisting on removing the home growing clause simply because of the huge profits the taxes are lined up to bring in.

Quebec’s Canadian Relations Minister Jean-Marc Fournier said the amendment would make it so that only licensed producers that have acquired a permit from the province be allowed to grow and sell recreational cannabis.

Minister Fournier also mentioned that there is a possibility of this measure being only a temporary one, at least for the first few years until the market stabilizes.

This measure would also mean that, in case the black market survives, there wouldn’t be nearly as much illegally sold marijuana on the streets, but users would rather flock the stores.

Minister Fournier reasoned that the amount of policing that would be required to make sure people aren’t growing more than 4 plants would be enormous, which is why he wants to completely outlaw growing cannabis at home.

However, Minister Fournier was perhaps mostly worried about the possibility of people living in family homes and organizing criminal networks, growing colossal amounts of weed and then flooding the streets with it.

“How could we check what happens inside those residences in terms of cannabis production?” he said. “One could imagine that various individuals could organize and create a network of home production.”

Bill 157 regarding homegrown cannabis in Quebec will be reviewed in three years time, which means home cultivation could be allowed depending on the experience in other provinces.

Allowing all people across Canada to grow weed at home was one of the focal points of Bill C-45 as this move alone would have a significant impact on fighting the black market.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said that Ottawa would not challenge provincial laws on home cultivation, but that it also won’t prevent people from taking it upon themselves to act in the ways they see fit.

Ms. Wilson-Raybould also said that she is a firm believer in the ability of the provinces to adopt different distribution models for cannabis depending on their individual requirements.

“I believe that provinces and territories have the opportunity to change some of the requirements and restrictions by lowering the age or the number of plants or, as is the case in Quebec, proposing zero home cultivation,” she said.

The question of whether provinces should have the ability to outlaw home cultivation has not been brought up too often, as all other provinces and territories have gone along with Ottawa’s plan.

The limit of four plants per home has not been debated either, although several provinces did introduce certain limitations to where the plants can be grown depending on the public eye.

For example, Alberta will allow only indoor production meaning that sun-grown cannabis will not be a thing there, while residents of  New Brunswick will have to keep their plants locked away at all times.

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