The Manitoban leading the charge to challenge the province’s ban on home grown cannabis filed seven affidavits in a Manitoba court today.
Jesse Lavoie filed a constitutional challenge last year against the province’s ban on Manitobans growing their own weed.
There are seven affidavits in all from academics, researchers, industry experts and patient advocates.
Lavoie launched his challenge of Manitoba’s section 101.15 of the Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Act last September. The government’s own affidavit, filed in response last year, focuses on what they say is a risk to youth and others if people can grow their own cannabis, a risk of diversion to the illicit market, risk to property, quality control concerns, and the difficulty of enforcing plant limits.
Lavoie’s own affidavits in response to Manitoba’s, filed today in Manitoba court, aim to address these concerns and rebut them, utilizing the input from their own team of experts. The government will then have a few weeks to respond again and this process can play out until possibly the end of this year before they see court.
“This is a legal battle between closed minded thinking and progress,” says Lavoie.
“I think we’ll see victory. It’s backed by a lot of evidence in our favour and I’m not seeing a lot of support on the other side. It’s just unfortunate that we have to take this long to get through this process and spend this much.”
Lavoie says he’s spent about $45,000 to get the case to come to this, with some help from a GoFundMe campaign he started last year that has brought in about $9,000 so far.
Although federal cannabis regulations allow up to four cannabis plants to be grown in the home for non-medical use, provinces and territories are allowed to limit that number.
The only two provinces to have limited that number are Quebec and Manitoba, which both placed an outright ban on cannabis home-grows. The federal government has in the past said while provinces can limit the total number of grows, they do not believe this allows provinces to limit that number to zero.
Quebec’s own ban was successfully challenged in 2019, the province is still currently appealing the ruling. In that successful challenge from last year, the judge in the case noted that Quebec would likely have the right to further limit home production and possession, but not outright ban it, because this would constitute an infringement by the province on federal criminal jurisdiction.
Lavoie says more he will be updating people on the progress of the case on his website. Although he knows the process of a court challenge could take a while, he says he’s prepared for the process.
“To all Manitobans, I’m here for the long game,” says Levoie. “I’m not going away. I require some support, but I will see this through to the end, and I can’t wait for us to all put some seeds in the ground together soon.”
“I really think we’re going to win, and when we win I think the government will appeal, just like they did in Quebec. At that point if they appeal, no new evidence can be brought in, it will just look at the past evidence.”