Manitoba Ban on Home-Grown Pot: Prudent Safety Measure or Nonsensical Tax Grab?

Article by Cameron MacLean, CBC News

Ban on home-grown pot: prudent safety measure or nonsensical tax grab? Advocates, critics of legalized cannabis have mixed reactions to province's pot bill By Cameron MacLean, CBC News. Manitobans without a medical licence will not be permitted to grown any cannabis plants in their home. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

The province’s move to ban home-grown marijuana is harshing the buzz of pot proponents, while others say a cautious approach eases the burden of legal weed on police and landlords.

On Tuesday, the Manitoba Progressive Conservative government tabled its Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act, which would set the legal age to buy cannabis at 19, and ban Manitobans without a medical licence from growing any plants in their homes, despite federal legislation allowing for up to four plants.

The federal government set a deadline of July 1, 2018 for all provinces to legalize the sale of marijuana.

At the Manitoba Legislative Building on Tuesday, legalization advocate Steven Stairs had mixed reaction to the news. Although he’s pleased to see the province moving forward on setting up a framework for legalized pot, he said he’s “extremely disappointed” by the ban on homegrown pot.

While some have argued that allowing home growing poses a safety risk due to high electricity usage from lights and water damage from hydroponic systems, Stairs questioned the logic behind allowing medical users to grow 50 plants at home, while non-medical users cannot even grow four.

“I think that’s nonsense,’ he said.

Lorne Weiss of the Manitoba Real Estate Association, however, praised the province’s decision. He says grow operations can damage the structural integrity of a house if modifications are made and pose a health risk due to mould or fire.

The new rules also provide clients with greater clarity when buying and selling a home, Weiss said.

“Why would you want to buy a house that’s been at risk of being not structurally sound or not safe?” he said. “From our members’ perspective it’s a good move to be able to assure our clients that they are buying what they think they’re buying, which is a home that has not been used  for the growing of cannabis.”

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