Recent Quebec Ruling on Home Marijuana Cultivation Could Impact Manitoba
Manitobans may soon be able to grow cannabis at home, thanks to a recent legal challenge in Quebec, according to CTV News.
On September 3rd, CBC News reported on a ruling deeming Quebec’s decision to ban home marijuana cultivation as unconstitutional.
Although the battle in Quebec is not completely over (specifically because the government could rewrite the law to make it constitutional), it opens the door for Manitoba – the only other province that bans home cultivation – to challenge provincial legislation.
A Conflict of Authority
The basis for Manitoba’s challenge is based on scope of authority. As CTV News explains:
“A Quebec court ruled Tuesday a ban on possessing and growing pot plants for personal use is unconstitutional because Quebec’s legislation infringed on the jurisdiction of the federal government, which has sole responsibility on criminal matters. The decision means it’s now legal to grow cannabis plants at home in Quebec, and the ruling could open the door for the law to change in Manitoba as well.”
One question is just how such a blatant conflict was not noticed while drafting federal and provincial cannabis legislation.
Despite having an entire “task force” behind setting up the legal and regulatory framework, not one expert noticed such a glaring issue.
It also calls into question any future restrictions, such as Quebec’s ban on topicals and many types of edibles.
Still a Long Way to Go
The decision about Quebec might be a ray of hope for aspiring cultivators, but attorney Jamie Jurczak warns the public not to declare victory just yet.
Challenging any law requires a process – one that takes anywhere from months to years. First, someone needs to be charged under the law in question. At that point, the onus is on them to not only challenge it, but also pay any legal fees and see the long process through to the end.
Suffice to say, most people do not have the financial means or the time to take on such a legal battle. Consequently, there is a good chance that the law will remain unchallenged unless an organization with deep pockets and expertise picks up the torch.
However, Jurczak is certain that the decision in Quebec sets a solid precedent, making it a key argument in any potential legal battle.
No Challenges Yet
The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority says they have not heard of any legal challenges as of yet (although it is rather early). However, they stand by their decision to ban home cultivation, citing risks to children and youth and the possibility that homegrown cannabis could be sold on the black market.
WeedAdvisor’s Support for Consumer Freedom
While we do understand the reservations of Quebec and Manitoba surrounding home cultivation, it is unfair to punish law-abiding citizens over the actions of a minority.
Additionally, this ban is virtually unenforceable. The only time police might catch someone violating the ban is if they enter a residence for an unrelated reason or see plants somewhere in plain sight.
The law is essentially redundant and – if challenged – will likely be repealed at taxpayers’ expense.
Individuals should have the freedom to enjoy a hobby (within reason) without being suffocated by laws meant to punish a select few.
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