Manitobans may be a step closer to growing marijuana plants

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Manitobans may be a step closer to growing their own recreational marijuana plants.

A Quebec court ruled Tuesday a ban on possessing and growing pot plants for personal use is unconstitutional because Quebec's legislation infringed on the jurisdiction of the federal government, which has sole responsibility on criminal matters.

The decision means it's now legal to grow cannabis plants at home in Quebec, and the ruling could open the door for the law to change in Manitoba as well.

Jamie Jurczak is a partner at Taylor McCaffrey in Winnipeg, and has been following legal changes around cannabis legislation.

"Someone might say the door is open in the sense that now someone in Manitoba has seen it happen in Quebec, maybe somebody is more willing to give it a shot here, might be more willing to say ‘I’m willing to challenge it because there is a precedent in another jurisdictions that I could currently rely upon in my arguments’," Jurczak said.

However, she cautioned the change could take months, possibly years.

Jurczak said to challenge the law requires someone first getting charged with growing cannabis plants, followed by them being willing to pay legal fees, and put in the time to see it through the courts.

She also said the ruling in Quebec may not be a done deal because the decision could be appealed.

If there is a challenge in Manitoba, Jurczak said she would not be surprised to see the Quebec example used.

Jim Darcel doesn't smoke or grow marijuana, but now that the drug is legal, he believes Manitobans show be able to have their own plants in their own homes.

"I just don't see that there's an important reason to prohibit the growing of cannabis at home," he said in downtown Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Even though Darcel supports letting people grow their own pot, he understands some of the reasons why others may want to keep it prohibited.

"Protect the local cannabis growers and the retail industry,” he said.

Only Manitoba and Quebec made growing non-medical pot illegal in October: LCGA

The Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba said Manitoba and Quebec are the only Canadian provinces that prohibited home cultivate after pot was legalized last October

The LGCA said it's not aware of any court challenges to Manitoba laws prohibiting home cultivation of non-medical cannabis.

It said this approach is consistent with Manitoba's commitment to protect children and youth, is supported by law enforcement and responds directly to the concern that homegrown cannabis may be sold illegally.

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