Government announces medical marijuana patients can grow own weed but raids continue

Health Canada requires patients to fill out an application and register before they are allowed to start growing the plants.
Health Canada requires patients to fill out an application and register before they are allowed to start growing the plants.(Photo: iStock)

Health Canada announced yesterday that medical marijuana patients are allowed to grow limited amounts of cannabis in their own home.

While the new regulations come into effect on August 24, people can’t just start growing the plant willy nilly on that date. Health Canada requires patients to fill out an application and register before they are allowed to start growing the plants.

Patients are also allowed to have another person grow the plants for them, as long as that person successfully completes a background check that shows they haven’t been convicted of a drug offence in the last decade.

The relaxing of the rules follows not only the Supreme Court of Canada decision from last year that said restrictions placed on medical marijuana patients were unconstitutional but also a federal court decision from earlier in the year that struck down the Conservative government’s 2013 law that forbade patients to grow their own weed.

However, the Health Canada announcement came on the heels of yet another series of marijuana dispensary raids in Toronto.

Police have arrested a total of five people this week in the raids, and charged them with drug possession and trafficking offences.

The latest series of raids bring the total to 50 since they began in May 2016, and that is just in Toronto. British Columbia, too, has cracked down on marijuana dispensaries forcing 30 dispensaries to close since authorities started issuing violation tickets in April 2016.

Many Canadians are confused about what to do while waiting for general marijuana use to be legalized, with dispensaries continuing to grow and operate while police crack down on them.

Critics of the crackdowns say that these raids are foolish, since legalization is coming soon.

Using valuable police resources to enforce archaic marijuana laws that are set to be taken off the books a year from now is not just a clear misuse of public funds, but a poor allocation of police human resources,” Michael McLellan of the Toronto Dispensaries Coalition said in a statement.

Indeed, even police admit they don’t have sufficient resources to deal with all the dispensaries out there. Toronto Police spokesperson Mark Pugash told CBC News “We have to prioritize where we put our resources.”

Still, the police have maintained that recreational use of marijuana is still illegal, saying they will continue with the raids.

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