Province extends to citizens the right to homegrown cannabis

Province extends to citizens the right to homegrown cannabis

For the first time since cannabis was legalized in 2018, adult recreational users in Manitoba will have the green light to grow their own plants for personal use.

“Manitoba will now align with federal legislation on cannabis by allowing people to grow up to four plants per residence,” said Minister of Justice Matt Wiebe in a press release. “This amendment is a direct response to Manitoba consumers and was one of our campaign promises. This bill will provide Manitobans the opportunity to grow their own cannabis as long as it is done in a safe and secure way. The regulatory framework will prioritize public safety, with a focus on protecting youth and ensuring cannabis plants are not accessible to young people.”

The soon-to-be-introduced amendments to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act will leave Quebec as the only province with a ban on homegrown recreational cannabis.

According to Wiebe, the legislative changes won’t come into effect until the province has established adequate safety and security requirements for growing cannabis at home.

“I want to emphasize that, as we implement these changes, the safety of the public, and particularly of young people, is paramount,” Wiebe said.

The ban on homegrown plants was originally enacted under the Progressive Conservative government. They initiated a fine of $2,542 for those caught breaking the law. Between 2019 and 2023, 13 people have been charged according to the Winnipeg Police Service.

The not-for-profit organization TobaGrown, founded by Jesse Lavoie, has been challenging the law since it came into effect. In two court cases, one in 2020 and another in 2023, the ruling was upheld.

Premier Wab Kinew has long voiced his opposition to the laws banning homegrown product. He made it a part of his election campaign in 2023.

“We are incredibly pleased with the Manitoba government’s decision to bring our laws into alignment with the federal Cannabis Act and the rest of the country,” says Lavoie. “It’s been a long journey for us at TobaGrown to reach this point and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the Manitoba cannabis community. Thank you, Premier Kinew and the Manitoba government.”

April 29, 2024 By Local Journalism Initiative

By Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen