Right to grow own cannabis under threat?

Photo: Shane Rounce on unsplash.com

Opinion

While Ontarians were preoccupied with electing a new government yesterday, Bill C-45 went before the Senate. The Bill, which contains the Government’s proposal to legalize the use of recreational cannabis, was passed by the Senate but with numerous amendments. Perhaps the most controversial of these is that it wants provinces to have the right to bar home cultivation of cannabis if they choose.

The Government had proposed that it would be legal to grow up to four marijuana plants per dwelling. However, two provinces, Quebec and Manitoba, have already chosen to prohibit home grown weed.

So far as Ontario is concerned, last December the Liberal government with NDP support passed The Cannabis Act. This does permit Ontario residents to cultivate up to four-plants, although there has been much discussion particularly from law enforcement agencies about how this will be interpreted and enforced.

If the federal government accepts the Upper House’s proposed amendment, then Ontarians should prepare for the possibility that home cultivation may come back for further consideration with the risk that we, after all, may end up following the path taken by Manitoba and Quebec.

In addition to eliminating the need to address the problems of interpretation and enforcement, the Ford Government might well be tempted to increase the revenue derived from its monopolized cannabis distribution by eliminating private cultivation. Given its ambitious and potentially costly campaign promises, it will presumably leave no stone unturned in tapping into all available income streams.

For the moment, therefore, it might be prudent to stop work on that designated patch in your garden and await developments.

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