Saskatoon grower says feds forcing pot back underground

A Saskatoon medicinal marijuana activist says Ottawa is forcing legal growers back underground with its changes to the program.

Changes to medical marijuana program come into effect in April

Jeff Lundstrom taking his medicine.

A Saskatoon marijuana activist is giving Ottawa the straight dope on changes to the medical marijuana program.

Jeff Lundstrom says making growing medical marijuana at home illegal won't stop people from cultivating it.

He predicts it will just force the industry back underground.

Lundstrom is one of 56 people in Saskatchewan licensed by Health Canada to grow medical marijuana for people who are cleared by a doctor to use it. There are 688 people in Saskatchewan who are allowed use the plant for medicinal purposes.

Come April 1, what Lundstrom is doing now legally will become illegal.

If I don't do it in my basement, I'm going to do it in somebody else's basement- Jeff Lundstrom

Not that that's going to stop him.

"I know how to grow weed. If I don't do it in my basement, I'm going to do it in somebody else's basement. That's where they're going to go -- they're going to push it all back under," he said.

Underground roots

Lundstrom says many of the growers started their botanical careers working in illegal grow-ops.

"I didn't just wake up one day and they gave me a license to produce marijuana. I started producing marijuana for the black market purposes underground in a basement in Wakaw, Saskatchewan in 2003. I hate to say it, but all the people that are on the current program all started somewhere underground. I wasn't a legal grower before I became a legal grower."

Lundstrom knows the industry. He's one of the organizers of the Prairie Medicinal Harvest Cup. It's coming up in Saskatoon later this week.

The three-day event brings together the people who are licensed to grow medical marijuana with those who are authorized to use it.

U.K. Cheese and Jack's Cleaner 2

Lundstrom says the event showcases varieties developed across western Canada. They come with exotic names like U.K. Cheese, Buddha Kush, Agent Orange and Jack's Cleaner 2.

He says there are a dozen growers with varieties entered for the show. At least ten of them are from Saskatchewan.

The event also includes live entertainment, guest speakers, experts with advice on growing and prize giveaways.

Lundstrom says he's already planning next year's show. But he adds that he knows it's going to different because of the changes to the federal program.

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