Article by Rob Breakenridge, Global News
As Canada’s cannabis legalization bill stumbles toward the finish line, there is suddenly a tremendous amount of political drama around the question of whether Canadians can grow their own cannabis.
The original plan under Bill C-45 was that Canadians could grow up to four plants per household, subject to additional potential provincial restrictions. That presumably could have meant limits of two or three plants, but Quebec and Manitoba have both decided to go with zero. That’s a ban, not a restriction, and it seems quietly likely that federal law would be paramount here.
The Senate, though, has sided with Quebec and Manitoba (and whichever other provinces might like to follow suit). A number of amendments were made to C-45, including a provision allowing provinces to ban home cultivation. Earlier this week, however, the Trudeau government made it clear this amendment would be rejected.
This could lead to a further back and forth between the Senate and the House, thus delaying final implementation of C-45, but the Liberals need to stand their ground. The impulse to ban home-grown cannabis seems largely driven by an antipathy to legalization itself, a craven desire for tax revenue, or some twisted combination of the two. There are no valid reasons for such a ban.
Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson inadvertently helped to illustrate that point. Earlier this week, the Manitoba government reiterated its position that it was banning home-grown cannabis regardless of what happens in Ottawa, and the minister was pressed to explain why.