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Manitoba man launching not-for-profit cannabis products to fund home-grown legal challenge

Jesse Lavoie, a Manitoba man challenging the provincial government's ban on personal cultivation of cannabis, is launching a pair of not-for-profit weed products to fund his legal challenge. Submitted / Jesse Lavoie

A Manitoba man engaged in a legal challenge with the Manitoba government over the ability to legally grow cannabis plants is launching a pair of not-for-profit weed products to fund the cause.

Jesse Lavoie, founder of TobaGrown, intends to bring the first of the products, a three-pack of pre-rolled joints called “TobaRolls,” to market by mid-February.

“All my profits from that are going towards our legal bills for our two constitutional challenges, and all remaining funds will be donated to multiple charities,” Lavoie said, adding he believes his is the first not-for-profit cannabis product in the world.

Manitoba and Quebec are the only two provinces in Canada that bar people from growing their own recreational cannabis. The practice is legal federally, up to four plants.

Read more: Quebec files appeal after judge strikes down law forbidding homegrown cannabis

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In addition to the Manitoba challenge, Lavoie’s team has joined a similar case in Quebec, where the issue is heading to the Supreme Court.

Quebec has flip-flopped on personal cultivation over the past few years. A judge ruled the ban was unconstitutional in late 2019, but the Quebec government successfully appealed two years later.

“I got really, really passionate about it because a lot of my friends wanted to grow, and then the circle just kept growing of people wanting to grow but were scared of breaking the law,” Lavoie said.

“When I looked into the government’s reasoning for putting the ban, all their reasons were outdated and debunked, and I knew I had an opportunity to take them on and potentially beat them.”

Lavoie’s cause has attracted the support of multiple licensed producers such as Prairie Trichomes, Natural Earth Craft Cannabis, and Cypress Craft, which are each supplying the flower used in TobaGrown’s products.

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

“TobaGrown is doing a fantastic job of creating awareness and demanding a change in the current laws surrounding the personal cultivation of cannabis,” said Bryce Oliver, master grower at Cypress Craft, in a press release.

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“Our team is proud to support the cannabis community and multiple Manitoba charities with our products.”

The second product, “The TobaSquad,” is also a line of pre-rolled joints expected to be released later in the year.

Jesse Lavoie, a Manitoba man challenging the provincial government’s ban on personal cultivation of cannabis, is launching a pair of not-for-profit weed products to fund his legal challenge. Submitted / Jesse Lavoie

Lavoie says any remaining profits will be donated to charities, three of which are in Manitoba: Winnipeg Harvest, Manitoba Metis Heritage Fund, and Habitat for Humanity Manitoba.

“We as a company believe strongly in Jesse’s cause, and we are proud to have the opportunity to contribute our craft cannabis towards supporting it. Now more than ever it is so important to support local business and valuable causes,” said Tim Doerksen, vice president of Natural Earth Craft Cannabis, in a news release.

TobaGrown’s products will initially be available in Manitoba, but Lavoie expects they’ll launch in Saskatchewan shortly after and then “any other provinces who want some.”

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Lavoie says his team is currently waiting for the Manitoba government to respond to their legal brief laying out their arguments, which he says could lead to both the Manitoba and Quebec challenges being heard simultaneously at the Supreme Court.

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