PCs Should Stop Wasting Money on Legal Cannabis Case 

December 17, 2020

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals say the Pallister Government should stop wasting public money in court defending a law that is offside with Federal legislation and has already been tossed out in Quebec.

When cannabis was legalized in Canada, Quebec and Manitoba were the only two provinces to bring in harsher restrictions punishing people for growing more than one plant.

The federal law allowed individuals to grow a maximum of four plants for personal use. In Manitoba, the PCs introduced fines of $2,542 for growing more than one plant.

In 2019, Quebec courts ruled that the province's restrictions were unconstitutional, leaving Manitoba as the only province still out of line with the federal law.

Advocate Jesse Lavoie has single-handedly launched a constitutional challenge to the PC Government and is hoping to be in court this summer as he progresses through submitting affidavits and briefs.

Lavoie is just seeking to have Manitoba's laws match the ones set out by the Federal Government, and allow people to grow up to four plants.

"As a result of the province's isolated legislation, the Manitoba government's decision is causing their citizens undue hardship. It is disadvantaging them from accessing the same rights as Canadian citizens outside of the province and is preventing Manitobans from easily accessing affordable cannabis," said Lavoie.

Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont, MLA for St. Boniface says Liberals are lending their support to Lavoie's case.

"In every province but Manitoba, it's legal to grow four pot plants at home," said Lamont. "The Pallister Government should stop wasting money fighting this case appeal and agree to harmonize the law with every other province in Canada."

At the time of cannabis legalization, Liberals expressed concern that the PCs new restrictions were an effort to "re-criminalize" cannabis. The PCs restrictions included bringing in laws that banned smoking indoors, outdoors, in parks, and at campsites. The NDP also favoured severe restrictions, including making the legal age for consumption 25.

Lamont said that since Manitobans make their own beer and wine for personal use, they should be able to grow limited amounts of cannabis in keeping with Federal Law.

"There are more important things for police, the courts, and the government to be spending their time and money on than charging someone for having such a small amount of pot plants for personal use."

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