Manitoba court upholds ban on growing cannabis at home

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In a ruling released Friday, Oct. 13, a Manitoba judge dismissed a resident’s application challenging the legality of Manitoba’s ban on growing their own cannabis.

The ban does not apply to people licensed to grow cannabis for medical purposes, but to those who want to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, which is permitted under federal law.

The Manitoba law, in effect since 2018, was challenged by resident Jesse Lavoie, who argued the provincial ban was unconstitutional and an overstep of provincial authority.

In its defense, the provincial government argued that the ban on growing cannabis at home was within the province’s power in the name of protecting public health and safety. By doing so, the province is ensuring that the black market does not profit from home-grown cannabis and is helping to keep it out of the hands of young people, they argued.

Justice Shauna McCarthy of the Court of Queen’s Bench agreed with the Manitoba government’s arguments, saying the penalties, while strict, were not overly punitive and did not violate the balance between provincial jurisdiction and federal. The province of Manitoba has the right to prohibit the cultivation of cannabis at home, even though federal law allows the cultivation of up to four plants.

One of Lavoie’s lawyers in the case, Kirk Tousaw, said they intend to appeal the decision.

“We intend to appeal this disappointing decision and continue our fight to ensure Manitobans can exercise the same freedoms as other Canadians,” Kirk Tousaw told StratCann.

“While we intend to appeal this decision, it is important to emphasize that Manitobans should not need to go to court to challenge bad laws. The government should change them, and we hope that the new NDP government will reverse the bad policy choices of its predecessor. »

In April of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a similar ban on home-grown cannabis in Quebec, finding that the province had the authority to enforce such a ban, despite federal rules allowing up to four plants per plant. hearth.

Quebec and Manitoba were the only two provinces to completely ban home cultivation, as was the territory of Nunavut. While Quebec’s rules provide for fines for people found growing cannabis, Manitoba’s ban provides for criminal penalties and a fine of $2,542 for growing cannabis for non-medical purposes in a residence, as well as imprisonment of up to one year and confiscation of personal property.

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