In just a few short weeks our neighbors to the North will become to the second country in the world to legalize adult use recreational cannabis. Uruguay was the first. Canadians will be permitted to grow up to six mature plants, but some provinces have decided to limit how residents can grow marijuana.
Vancouver isn’t exactly known for being strict on marijuana, but the strict regulations imposed on home growers could grant them such a reputation. British Columbians are allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants at home under the new laws. But, failure to comply with regulations means hefty fines and even jail time.
A battle is brewing between longtime seed and clone retailers in British Columbia and The Liquor Distribution Branch of the Ministry of Public Safety. That’s because come Oct. 17, when weed is legalized across Canada, retailers must stop selling seeds or clones.
The new cannabis policy doesn’t allow for home growers to purchase starter plants like with tomatoes or other plants. According to the Ministry of The Attorney, General clones are “too fragile and have a short shelf life, and are in need of constant care.”
According to one nursery owner, not allowing home growers to purchase cannabis clones is “bizarre”. That’s because every major grower knows that growing from seed can be a fifty-fifty shot, you might get a male, and you might get a female. Only the females are kept for their resinous flowers.
Furthermore, a seed could produce any number of phenotypes with unpredictable traits and effects. If you’re a medical marijuana patient hoping to grow your own medicine, your health could depend on having a consistent supply of a medicine that always has the same effects.
Starter plants, or cannabis clones, are the answer to that issue, but the British Columbia politicians decided that residents shouldn’t have that freedom. Instead, they can only buy seeds, and only from the government supplier, which in Canada also controls the alcohol.
Another regulation raising tensions in the coming regulatory battle in the B.C. province is about being able to see the cannabis plants. Home growers must ensure that their plants are not visible from any public space.
Cannabis activist and retailer, Dana Larsen, suggests that this policy discriminates against urban and poor residents. While wealthy suburbanites can easily put up a large fence around the backyard, but if you live in an apartment it’d be pretty hard to keep a patio or rooftop plant out of site.
Larsen is afraid that after marijuana is legalized, cannabis prohibitionists, and perhaps police, will go around looking for cannabis growers to call out. First-time offenders could get a fine of up to $5,000 and three months in jail. The penalty doubles for your second offense.
According to the Times Colonist, Larsen is coordinating a planned protest. He encourages people to plant cannabis in a visible location and invite the police to arrest them to clog the courts with nuisance cases and appeals.
On the other side, B.C. firefighters are against home growers altogether after two people died in a fire last April. It was thought to be caused by electrical malfunctions from cannabis grow-op equipment. The fire chief says there’s no reason residents should grow weed since it will soon be legally available.
What makes all of this further complicated is homeowners insurance and rental or lease contracts. For example, in Ontario, condo tenants and owners can be restricted from cultivating any cannabis at all by landlords and boards.
Manitoba and Quebec aren’t even allowing residents the right to cultivate cannabis at home, which is outrageous. In other words, there’s a big push to prevent citizens the right to cannabis cultivation. For many reasons, it’s understandable.
Homeowners don’t want renters destroying their property with elaborate grow setups. Insurance companies don’t want to risk damage from cannabis cultivation due to the whole banking issue around marijuana.
So, while everyone is jubilated for legalization in Canada, it comes with its cons and regulatory tensions. But, it’s still a strong step forward for cannabis policy reform overall. Everyone was already growing their own weed in British Columbia anyway. Only time will tell us if the government will crack down on illegal cannabis nurseries and suppliers.
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1.Randy Shore Growing pot at home in B.C. will be legal, but not easy. Retrieved August 09, 2018 from https://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/growing-pot-at-home-in-b-c-will-be-legal-but-not-easy-1.23389062
2. Long time coming. 1st legal grow in 25 years. - HoneycombBong.com. Retrieved August 09, 2018 from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/519813981987015518/?lp=true
3.The Associated Press Medical marijuana growers, clinics are frequent target for criminals. Retrieved August 09, 2018 from https://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/medical_marijuana_growers_clin.html