Manitoba man taking province to court over ban on growing pot at home

Click to play video: 'Challenging homegrown pot ban' Challenging homegrown pot ban
A Manitoba man is taking the province to court , calling its ban on growing recreational marijuana at home "unconstitutional". Brittany Greenslade reports. – Aug 27, 2020

A Manitoba man has filed a constitutional challenge over the province’s rules about growing pot at home.

Jesse Lavoie filed the notice of application on Wednesday, naming the government of Manitoba, the attorney general of Manitoba and the attorney general of Canada in his challenge.

In the notice, Lavoie claims the province had no right to ban the federal government’s rule that allows four cannabis plants to be grown at home.

Read more: Legal pot in Manitoba — here’s a refresher on rules

“Every province or territory that allowed a form of residential cultivation of cannabis has continued to do so since the Cannabis Act came into effect,” reads the notice, adding that a similar ban in Quebec was struck down as unconstitutional one year later.

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Lavoie said he filed the challenge because Manitobans deserve to be able to grow recreational cannabis for personal use, like most of the rest of Canada.

“We are forced to buy at recreational cannabis stores, upwards of $15 per gram,” he said, noting that four plants grown at home could yield about 400 grams.

“That’s a lot of money not being saved by Manitobans, that is being enjoyed across the country.”

The province’s reasons for being cautious were understandable at first, said Lavoie, noting that hundreds of people growing plants at home “could be a little scary.”

However, none of the predicted problems have surfaced across Canada, he said, adding that growing your own cannabis also means people can control the quality.

Lavoie said he suffered for years from PTSD due to a traumatic event at his job, and used cannabis to help. Now that he’s recovered, he said pot is his one indulgence.

“I just want to see this law changed, and I’m fine to see it through to the end.”

Read Lavoie’s challenge here:

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The Cannabis Act came into effect across Canada on Oct. 17, 2018. The act created a legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis.

Every province has the authority to say how cannabis is distributed, but Manitoba is now the only province in Canada with a complete ban on growing pot in a residential home.

The province’s Progressive Conservative government has traditionally been against the legalization of cannabis, citing a lack of research into the health effects of smoking pot, especially in teens.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen refused to comment, his office told Global News via email, as the case is now before the courts.

Click to play video: 'Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba' Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba
Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba – Oct 17, 2019

In Manitoba, there are five major rules around pot:

  • You must be 19 years old or older to buy cannabis.
  • You can’t smoke or vape cannabis in public.
  • You can’t grow cannabis at home.
  • You can carry a maximum of 30 grams of cannabis on you while in public.
  • Don’t drive while high.

In the city of Winnipeg, people are allowed to consume cannabis on their personal property, however, that applies to homeowners of single-family dwellings. Condos and rented residences, including apartment complexes, may or may not allow cannabis consumption.

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