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.

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

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

Low interest rates have acted as a catalyst for the pandemic real estate market. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Real estate sales surging across Greater Victoria but risks lie ahead

Single family home prices jump nine per cent over past year while condo values remain stable

Protestors against old growth logging gather in front of the courthouse in Victoria on Thursday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fairy Creek protesters gather at Victoria courthouse

Logging company seeks injunction to remove blockades near its Port Renfrew operation

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read