Licences allowing medical marijuana users to grow their own at home expire April 1 and operators have until April 30 to provide notification they've halted production and destroyed leftover pot.

Medical marijuana users ordered to stop growing

But pot growers may not comply and cities may not enforce, despite federal threat to notify law enforcement

Medical marijuana home growers have been ordered by the federal government to provide written notification by April 30 that they’ve halted production and destroyed any leftover pot.

Authorized personal grow-ops for approved medical marijuana users become illegal April 1 as their licences expire and the country switches instead to a system of regulated commercial production.

Health Canada said in a statement March 14 it will notify law enforcement of any users who fail to comply with the notification requirement, an apparent shift from past refusals to disclose locations to local authorities on privacy grounds.

The new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulation allows licensed medical marijuana users – more than 16,000 of them are in B.C. – to buy dried pot only from approved commercial producers via mail order.

Many B.C. municipalities are keen to stamp out medical marijuana home grows, which they say often pose an electrical fire risk to neighbours and may leave mould and other safety hazards behind for future residents.

But most also don’t want to take on the burden of fixing what they see as a problem created by the federal government.

Mission Mayor Ted Adlem doesn’t support sending police in to enforce compliance with the new medical pot law, even in cases where Ottawa discloses users who have failed to send their notification.

“I’m not interested in throwing people in jail for growing marijuana,” Adlem said. “Who’s going to foot the bill to close these people down who have not notified and ceased to operate? I’m far more in favour of being able to have my fire inspector check the place out for electrical safety.”

He predicts many other B.C. municipalities will also have little interest in making it a policing project.

“I think most mayors are concerned about the cost of doing this. Is it something we really want to be spending our policing budget on? I don’t think so.”

Mission already knows the locations of about 100 of an estimated 800 local licensed medical growers, he said.

Adlem noted soon-to-be-illegal growers may lie on the federal form and keep growing in defiance of the law.

He said Health Canada’s handling of the issue has been “a joke” and the warning that law enforcement will be notified is vague.

Sensible BC campaign director Dana Larsen accused the government of reneging on promises of privacy for medical marijuana users.

“There are going to be some people who lie about it, absolutely,” Larsen predicted.

“It puts patients in a difficult position where they have to lie to the government on an official form or defy the government and not send the form in.”

He said it’s unreasonable to force approved users to throw away “perfectly good medicine” under threat of prosecution and then buy more from new corporate dealers.

The order to destroy unused pot also applies to users who buy from other small growers designated to grow for them under the old system.

“It’s putting a lot of fear into patients,” Larsen said. “If they don’t send this notice back or if it gets lost in the mail when they send it back, Health Canada is going to send cops to their door.”

Larsen said a national protest is planned for April 1, when cannabis reform supporters will bombard Health Minister Rona Ambrose’s office with phone calls and emails.

New commercial pot producers won’t be allowed to supply medical marijuana dispensaries or compassion clubs.

That leaves Larsen, who operates a Vancouver dispensary, in the position of continuing to buy and sell illegally grown pot under the new rules.

“We’re not really too worried about sourcing medicine for our patients,” he said. “The City of Vancouver recently announced they intend to make dispensaries the lowest priority and not bother us.”

Dana Larsen headed Sensible BC’s marijuana reform petition last fall. It failed to get enough signatures to force a provincial referendum. Contributed photo.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port McNeill curling club will be getting a brand new paint job, thanks to residents

‘The generosity of this community never ceases to amaze me!’

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

North Island students are back in class, sitting six-feet apart

School District 85 schools reopened June 1 for students who want to come in person

Universal basic income is a good thing

‘I’ve always loved change, so I’m rooting for a different way of life altogether’

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Vancouver Island school principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Considerations made to keep Island community’s drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

Most Read