Manitoba NDP table bill to repeal ban on growing cannabis at home

| David Brown

In an announcement in the House today, Matt Wiebe, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Manitoba, announced the provincial government would be lifting the province’s ban on people growing cannabis at home.

Bill 34, The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act, was tabled today. It proposed to repeal the province’s ban, allowing Manitobans to grow up to four plants per household, per federal regulations.

The Manitoba NDP, led by leader and now-premier Wab Kinew, formed a majority government in an election in October 2023, defeating the Progressive Conservative government in power since 2016.

“Manitoba will now align with federal legislation on cannabis by allowing people to grow up to four plants per residence,” said Wiebe in a press release. “This amendment is a direct response to Manitoba consumers and was one of our campaign promises. This bill will provide Manitobans the opportunity to grow their own cannabis as long as it is done in a safe and secure way. The regulatory framework will prioritize public safety, with a focus on protecting youth and ensuring cannabis plants are not accessible to young people.”

Then-Premier Brian Pallister said at the time that banning the home cultivation of cannabis would protect children and undermine the illicit market. Quebec and Manitoba were the only provinces to challenge that authority, banning home growing entirely, as did the Territory of Nunavut. 

While Quebec’s rules implement fines for those found growing cannabis, Manitoba’s ban creates criminal penalties and a $2,542 fine for growing non-medical cannabis in a residence in Manitoba

Quebec’s ban on growing cannabis at home was challenged in the courts, making its way to the Supreme Court, which upheld the province’s right to do so. 

In 2023, a Manitoba court also ruled that the province’s ban on growing cannabis at home could stay in place after facing a similar challenge. The organization that challenged the law recently filed another appeal in March 2024. 

The Manitoba law has been challenged in court by resident Jesse Lavoie, who argued the provincial ban was unconstitutional and an overreach of provincial authority.

“We are incredibly pleased with the Manitoba NDP’s decision to bring our laws into alignment with the Cannabis Act and the rest of the country,” Lavoie told StratCann. “It’s been a long journey for TobaGrown to reach this point, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the Manitoba cannabis community. As soon as these changes become law we will be notifying the Courts that we are dismissing our lawsuit. Thank you, Premier Kinew and Manitoba NDP.”

The Manitoba government is also looking at a temporary freeze on new controlled-access stores cannabis store licences. More info on this change soon.

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