October 9, 2013 10:13 pm
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:12 am

Trudeau disagrees with move toward large free market pot farms

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks at a campaign rally for byelection candidate Chrystia Freeland at her Toronto Centre campaign office on Wednesday October 2, 2013.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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WINNIPEG – Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says the Conservative government’s decision to launch a free market for medical marijuana is a move in the wrong direction.

Trudeau spoke Wednesday to hundreds of students at the University of Manitoba about a variety of issues, including economic growth and poverty.

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When pressed for his views on the subject, Trudeau said he’s not in favour of replacing small, home-grown operations with larger commercial farms.

Trudeau’s comments came in response to a question from medical marijuana activist Steven Stairs, who held up a sign reading, “Let our people grow.”

Stairs, who uses the pot for his glaucoma, has accused the federal government of forcing sick people to jump through more hoops than necessary.

Trudeau, who also favours legalizing recreational marijuana, said the government’s move does not respect people’s freedom or contribute to the kind of care they need.

“Our worries are that the current hyper-controlled approach around medical marijuana that actually removes from individuals the capacity to grow their own, is not going in the right direction,” he said.

Under the old system, 4,200 growers were licensed to produce for a maximum of two patients each, but the Mounties complained those grow-ops were often a front for criminal organizations.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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