Manitoba Marijuana Laws, A Look Into Marijuana Laws in Canada
Our survey of marijuana laws in Canada has taken us to the free markets of Alberta and Ontario, and the government-owned monopoly of Quebec. The next stop on our legalization tour will be to the home of the Winnipeg Jets, as we look at Manitoba marijuana laws.
The province is currently under the administration of conservative Premier Brian Pallister, and the province’s emphasis on privatization reflects this. However, Manitoba marijuana laws are characterized by a few odd quirks on the enforcement side. These restrictive policies border on bizarre and arbitrary, to put it bluntly.
So what will cannabis legalization in Manitoba look like?
Manitoba marijuana laws dictate that the prairie province will be operating under a similar free-market model to Alberta… With a few twists. Storefront businesses will be allowed to sell cannabis as long as they are issued a provincial license. These will be issued through the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries.
Unlike the mixed model of Alberta however, online cannabis will not be sold through the government. According to Manitoba marijuana laws, online cannabis businesses will be allowed to acquire a license to sell their product, just like brick and mortar stores.
Supply will once again involve the province as a middleman, who deals with licensed producers. The MBLL will act as the regulatory body that carries out routine inspections of the licensed cannabis stores.
Don’t Grow Your Own
One of the more controversial decisions of the Pallister administration is their stance on cannabis cultivation. According to federal marijuana laws in Canada, the Trudeau government will permit individuals to grow up to four plants for personal use.
However, the Manitoba P.C.s view things a little differently. The Pallister administration has written Manitoba marijuana laws so as to prohibit personal cultivation altogether.
How is this possible? A spokesperson for Justice Minister Heather Stefanson said in an email to CBC News, that provinces have authority over,
“setting additional regulatory requirements to address issues of local concern. For example, provinces and territories could set a higher minimum age or more restrictive limits on possession or personal cultivation, including lowering the number of plants or restricting where it may be cultivated.”
Premier Brian Pallister made it clear in one interview that the purpose of this policy was to target the black market and keep marijuana out of the hands of children. These were two of the chief concerns behind the federal legalization of marijuana.
“If we’re going to make errors, let’s err on the side of safety. Let’s make sure that we’re doing everything we can to protect people who choose to use the product, but also protect those who do not,”
Those who are caught growing weed illegally will face fines of up to $2,542. This is a stiff penalty indeed.
While well-intentioned, this aspect of Manitoba marijuana laws will undoubtedly be ineffective. Whether homegrown or store purchased, cannabis will be around children. Prohibiting homegrown marijuana will not change this. The only adequate solution to preventing children from consuming cannabis at an early age is effective education. Arbitrary regulations are bound to encounter pushback and only encourage further youth consumption.
As far as squashing the black market, it is dubious whether a ban on person cultivation will achieve this. The sort black market operations that Brian Pallister should be concerned with are those similar to California’s secretive large-scale grows. If Manitoba marijuana laws were to permit the four plant limit allowed by the Trudeau administration, this would be of no consequence to such large black market enterprises.
However, by attempting to stamp out small time, grassroots dealers Manitoba has undoubtedly committed itself to an exercise in futility. For evidence of this, one need look no further than Ontario’s disastrous attempt to enforce legal cannabis.
Weed and Nature? Manitoba Marijuana Laws Say No
The Pallister administration is very specific with regards to where you can and can’t light up. Manitoba marijuana laws will prohibit consumption of weed in provincial parks. Those in violation will be fined up to $672.
Weed and nature go hand and hand. So what the heck is Brian Pallister thinking? The Puff Puff Post was able to uncover a photo of a secret conference the Manitoba government had with smokey the bear. Apparently preventing forest fires take precedence over everything else.
Marijuana laws in Canada have given a great degree of freedom for individual provinces to create cannabis economies that best suit them. There is no one perfect economic system, only better systems for different circumstances. The Trudeau government’s sensible Cannabis Act reflects this.
Manitoba marijuana laws reflect perhaps the most “free market” approach to legalization. The fact that private retail is possible online reflects an understanding that e-commerce is essential in the 21st century.
The Pallister administration is cognisant that marijuana should be kept local, thus enabling domestic economic growth. To this end, emergent marijuana dispensaries are eligible for financial aid through Manitoba’s small business venture capital tax credit. This could be the headstart that many companies need to break into the market.
Manitoba has demonstrated that it is more than prepared for legalization. The Pallister administration has already signed deals with four licensed producers and secured 2.3 million grams of cannabis for its first year.
The system that Manitoba marijuana laws have created is characterized by free market enterprise and rather odd enforcement choices. It will be interesting to see how Brian Pallister’s plan unfolds come October.
By: Stefan Hosko