Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard wants to ban home cultivation of cannabis, but the final version of Canada’s Cannabis Act doesn’t allow provinces to prohibit home grows. Now Premier Couillard is threatening to defend Quebec’s ban in court.
Previously, both Quebec and Manitoba had signaled that they would be implementing a ban on home cultivation of cannabis once the substance becomes legal in Canada this October. The Canadian Senate tried to accommodate their reservations by adding an amendment to the Cannabis Act that would have allowed provinces to ban home grows. But the House of Commons rejected that amendment and fought for personal grow ops, which were eventually included in the version of the bill that was passed last week.
However, Premier Couillard says that forcing the provinces to accept home cultivation is not “in the very spirit of federalism.” And if the issue goes to court, he plans to argue that Quebec’s ban should take precedence over federal law because it is a matter of criminal provision of distribution, a provincial area of enforcement that falls outside the jurisdiction of the federal government’s Criminal Code.
And that showdown is likely to happen at some point in the near future because Couillard plans to move forward with the grow-op ban with the intention to press charges against anyone who defies it by cultivating cannabis at home. If that happens, than the province and the feds will square off on the issue in court.