The House

Manitoba ready to act after government rejects key cannabis bill amendment

​Manitoba is prepared to go to court to assert their right to ban people from growing cannabis at home.
Manitoba Minister of Justice Heather Stefanson says her province is prepared to fight the federal government over who has jurisdiction to restrict pot growth in home (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Manitoba is prepared to go to court to assert its right to ban people from growing cannabis at home.

Provincial Justice Minister Heather Stefanson told The House her government is confident that imposing a zero-plant rule is within the province's jurisdiction — even if the federal government rules Canadians can grow pot in their homes.

"We're confident in our legal position," she told Hall.

"We're erring on the side of public health and safety when we make this decision on home grow and we think it's the responsible approach."

Bill C-45, the government's main piece of cannabis legislation, was sent back to the House of Commons with 46 Senate amendments. One of those amendments was the recommendation that the government allow provinces to determine their own rules for home growing.

While the government accepted most of the amendments, they rejected that key one.

Manitoba, Quebec and Nunavut have all been pushing for the right to govern home growing themselves, something the federal government says won't be an option.

"We are concerned with (the federal) statements," Stefanson said, adding it still won't prevent Manitoba from attempting to regulate the practice themselves.

Manitoba will take the issue to court if the federal government chooses to challenge its jurisdiction, she said, but the provincial government is hoping it won't go that far.

The matter of home growing isn't Manitoba's only problem with the bill, she said, but it's the provincial government's main concern.

"We think they're pushing forward with it too quickly without having the proper safety mechanisms in place."

The House still has to debate and vote on the bill in the coming days. Then C-45 will return to the Senate, where senators will have to decide whether to give up their fight to make their recommendations stick.

Manitoba is prepared to go to court to assert its right to ban people from growing cannabis at home. Justice Minister Heather Stefanson says her government is confident that imposing a zero-plant rule is within the province's jurisdiction - even if the federal government rules Canadians can grow pot in their homes. 9:54

now