Manitoba to lift its ban on homegrown cannabis

Published on April 25, 2024 by Pat Bulmer

Manitoba NDP Justice Minister Matt Wiebe in the legislature introducing a law to end a homegrown ban in the province. Photo: Contributed/Manitoba Legislature
Manitoba NDP Justice Minister Matt Wiebe introduces amendments to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act that will allow people to grow cannabis at home, as Premier Wab Kinew smiles wide.

Manitoba’s ban on homegrown cannabis is going away.

Justice Minister Matt Wiebe on Wednesday introduced amendments to the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act that will allow Manitobans 19 and over to grow up to four cannabis plants.

“Manitoba will now align with federal legislation on cannabis by allowing people to grow up to four plants per residence,” says Wiebe in a news release. “This amendment is a direct response to Manitoba consumers and was one of our campaign promises.”

First reported by the oz.the NDP and Liberals promised during the fall election campaign to repeal the ban put in place in 2017 by then-Justice Minister Heather Stefanson. The Progressive Conservatives didn’t answer when asked by the oz. whether they would repeal their own ban.

Home growing is now prohibited only in Quebec and Nunavut.

Regulations will be coming.

BC, for example, has rules that homegrown plants cannot visible from public places. Growing cannabis is banned in homes used as licensed child cares. Landlords, stratas, local and Indigenous governments can impose their own restrictions. And, of course, growers must be 19 and over.

“The proposed legislative amendments also create the authority for safety and security requirements to be established in regulation,” says Wiebe as he introduced the legislation.

One of the ban’s most prominent opponents was celebrating Wednesday.

“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 Jesse Lavoie, who had challenged the homegrowing ban in court.

Lavoie, founder of TobaGrown, lost his court case, but vowed to appeal if the NDP didn’t act.

Though Quebec’s ban was upheld by the Supreme Court, Manitoba’s fine of $2,542 was excessive, Lavoie argues.

“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,” says Lavoie in the government news release

On the TobaGrown Instagram page, Lavoie declares “Victory!!!” and says the bill will also allow the sale of seeds at dispensaries.

“I know I will be growing monsters in my yard once this is signed and legit,” haulsofficial replied in the comment section to Lavoie’s post.

“One step closer to making this wonderful plant accessible to everyone,”  wrote east.coast.grower420.

Lavoie’s lawyer Kirk Tousaw, who has taken on several cannabis cases, posted a video on X (formerly Twitter) and says: “I am super stoked at the news that comes out of Manitoba today that the NDP government is introducing legislation to get rid of the homegrown ban. Absolutely great news for Manitobans who want to grow their own four recreational plants, join the rest of Canada, except for Quebec, and enjoy that right under the Cannabis Act.”

Tousaw is now a cannabis grower at Great Gardener Farms in BC.

Also on Wednesday, the government imposed a moratorium on new licences for “controlled-access” stores in urban areas, various media outlets reported. Controlled-access outlets include convenience stores and gas stations that are open to all ages but put cannabis products out of the reach of customers, The Canadian Press explained.