Supreme Court of Canada to hear appeal in Quebec home grow case

| David Brown

The Supreme Court of Canada has said they will hear an appeal to a lower court ruling on Quebec’s home-grown cannabis ban. 

A lead counsel on the case, Maxime Guérin, says he is happy about the announcement, although it was expected. He expects to get a date from the Supreme Court in the next six months.

“We’re very happy about this,” Guérin told StratCann. “It’s always a bit stressful to know if we are going to be heard on such an important case. We had high expectations, and in the end we’re very pleased.”

“Honestly, we would have been surprised if we heard the Supreme Court didn’t want to hear this.”

In September 2021, Quebec’s Court of Appeal reversed a previous ruling from the Quebec Superior Court in 2019 that said the ban on Quebecers growing their own cannabis was a violation of federal law. This week, the Court of Appeal sided with the Quebec government on the province’s ban on homegrown cannabis. The opposition says they plan to appeal.

In her ruling, Quebec Court of Appeal Judge France Thibault wrote that both sides in the case were motivated by the desire to combat the harms associated with consumption. The Quebec government argued they could ban growing cannabis at home in order to protect Quebecers, especially young people. The other side argued that the Quebec government could not overrule federal law that allows Canadians to grow up to four plants per household.

This means that currently Quebec residents found to be growing cannabis can be fined $750 per plant unless they are doing so with a medical authorization through their physician and Health Canada.

The appeal came after lawyers, representing Quebec resident Janick Murray Hall, successfully argued that Quebec’s ban on allowing residents to grow cannabis at home was in violation of federal law. The judge in that case ruled against the provincial government’s ban, but the province quickly appealed the ruling, leading to the Quebec Court of Appeal now scheduled to be appealed in the Supreme Court.