Manitoba homegrown cannabis ban upheld by judge

Published on October 18, 2023 by David Wylie

Cannabis growing a backyard is not allowed because of the Manitoba homegrown cannabis ban. Photo: Adobe stock/the oz.
Cannabis growing a backyard is not something you'll see in Manitoba... yet.

A judge has upheld the Manitoba homegrown cannabis ban, saying the province did not overstep its powers.

Court of King’s Bench Justice Shauna McCarthy rejected arguments that the province’s ban on growing cannabis for recreational purposes was unconstitutional and infringing on federal jurisdiction. Rather, McCarthy ruled banning homegrown cannabis is within the provincial purview.

Through the Cannabis Act, the federal government allows people to grow up to four plants at home—but Manitoba and Quebec opted for total bans.

  • RELATED: Read the judge’s full decision

“The public interest objective of the Respondent in prohibiting home cultivation of cannabis, despite the approach taken in most other provinces and in the federal Cannabis Act, was to protect the health and safety of the public, including limiting access to cannabis by youth, and preventing home-grown cannabis from finding its way into unregulated or illicit markets” says McCarthy’s judgment.

“These objectives fall under the provincial jurisdiction over property and civil rights, matters of a local or private nature, and licensing of businesses.…”

Cannabis advocate Jesse Lavoie spearheaded the lawsuit.

Lavoie told the Canadian Press he will continue to fight the law. “We do not accept this decision, and we are preparing our counter arguments for the Court of Appeal.”

  • RELATED: NDP expected to lift Manitoba homegrown cannabis ban

Despite the ruling, the NDP won the provincial election this month and have said they oppose the Manitoba homegrown cannabis ban.

Wab Kinew was sworn in this week as premier, formally ousting the Progressive Conservatives who instituted the ban.

Before the vote, an NDP official told the oz. the party would lift the ban on homegrown cannabis put in place by the governing Progressive Conservatives ahead of legalization.

“The Manitoba NDP opposes the current ban on homegrown cannabis,” the official wrote in an email.

Fines for violating the Manitoba ban, which does not apply to medical cannabis, start at $2,542.