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Medical cannabis growers in Winnipeg will soon need another licence

Sep 1, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Anyone authorized by Health Canada to produce cannabis for medical use will also need to be licensed by the city

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A new licensing program for medical cannabis growers in Winnipeg will take effect later this month.

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Growers will be required to obtain a Designated Growers Licence from the City of Winnipeg as of Sept. 6. The change occurs as a result of the newly enacted Community Safety Business Licensing bylaw.

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  1. Jesse Lavoie believes that “everyone should be allowed their federal right to grow.”

    Meet the former correctional officer fighting to overturn Manitoba’s ban on home growing

  2. Many concerned residents have appeared in city delegations over the last two years to speak with councillors about concerns over neighbourhood grow-ops.

    City council set to tackle problem cannabis grow-ops in Winnipeg

  3. Former correctional officer Jesse Lavoie filed a constitutional challenge against Manitoba's ban on home cultivation in August 2020. /

    Campaign to overturn Manitoba’s ban on home growing will join Quebec’s Supreme Court appeal

Earlier this year, Winnipeg City Council approved several bylaws that restrict growing in residential neighbourhoods and spurred the new licensing regime. Growing facilities must now be located in a commercial zone.

Under the new regulations, anyone authorized by Health Canada to produce cannabis for medical use on behalf of specific individuals will also need to be licensed by the city.

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City council began the process of regulating cannabis grows in 2021 after concerns were raised about grows located in residential neighbourhoods.

Cannabis advocates, however, warned that further regulation could have an impact on Canadians who are already struggling with health issues.

“Now, I’m not arguing about criminal activity plaguing that system,” Steven Stairs said last year. “I’m talking about the sick Canadians this will affect by putting an overburdened system in place, regulations and licensing that will cost them more money when these people are low income and fixed income,” Stairs said.

“It will put more onus on them to find trusted individuals who can do this for them, who now have to possibly follow a bunch of regulations they’ve never had to follow before. It also really limits reasonable access,” the advocate argued.

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Winnipeg resident Laurie Monk noted that the push for regulatory change wasn’t about being anti-cannabis, but limiting grow sites to industrial areas.

“Homes are for people, not factories. The current regulation allows Health Canada-licensed growers to operate without occupying a home. The federal legislation has a large loophole that was quickly exploited by what we suspect are organized crime groups, although I believe the intent of the legislation was to ensure all Canadians have safe access to medical cannabis unencumbered,” Monk said.

Manitoba, along with Quebec and Nunavut, have barred homegrowing of recreational cannabis, despite federal legalization.

Under the Cannabis Act, Canadians are legally allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per residence.

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Last year, Jesse Lavoie, a former correctional officer, filed a constitutional challenge against the Manitoba government’s ban on homegrowing. Lavoie was prescribed medical cannabis in 2017 following a violent workplace incident that led to a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

In an interview with The GrowthOp, Lavoie argued that “everyone should be allowed their federal right to grow.”

Those who are caught growing cannabis face a $2,500 fine and all the implications that come with it, including potential issues crossing the border.

In 2019, Quebec’s ban on growing at home was deemed unconstitutional by the province’s Superior Court, but that decision was overturned last year by the Quebec Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court of Canada is now set to examine the constitutionality of the province’s ban on homegrowing, but no hearing date has been set.

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