QUEBEC: Self-cultivation of cannabis debated in the Supreme Court.

Judges of the Supreme Court of Quebec will soon decide whether locals will be able to grow cannabis at home.

Until now, the self-cultivation of cannabis was prohibited in Quebec.

In 2018, the government, represented by François Legault, banned this practice through a law regulating cannabis. 

The ban imposed fines on those who violate the law on home growing. People found to be cultivating cannabis plants at home would be fined between 250 Canadian dollars ($200) and CA$750 for a first offense.

At the same time, the federal law legalizing the consumption and self-cultivation of cannabis came into force.

Quebec’s Cannabis Regulation Act was declared unconstitutional in 2019 by the province’s Superior Court.

A citizen, Janick Murray-Hall, challenged the Quebec law before the Superior Court of Quebec in 2019. The Court agreed with Murray-Hay by finding that Quebec was abusing its authority while denying the sovereignty of Ottawa.

The government later appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal and in turn, won the battle.

The outcome of this interminable conflict is therefore up to the nine judges of the Supreme Court, who, last Thursday, agreed to hear the challenge of Mr. Murray-Hall whose request had been filed at the end of October.

The lawyer in charge of the file, Me Maxime Guérin of the Saraïlis firm, declared on the telephone that he would use substantially the same argument which gave the victory in the first instance to the plaintiff.

“For us, the ban on growing four plants at home is criminal. In other words, we recriminalized what had just been decriminalized,” he said.

Quebec would exceed its right by prohibiting home cultivation.

Indeed, the Criminal Code falls under the federal government, which means that Quebec would exceed its right by prohibiting self-cultivation.

“It’s a constitutional law debate, and that’s probably why the Supreme Court wanted to hear us,” said Guérin.

Quebec is the only province that has decided to dispute the possibility of growing cannabis at home with Manitoba.

According to a survey by the Canadian government from 2020, 7% of people said they had grown plants inside or near their homes.

“Among those who had used cannabis in the past 12 months, this percentage was 15%,” said the Federal Ministry of Health.

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