Dear Herb: Can my friend legally pay me to grow cannabis on their property?

Herb gets up close and personal with Canada's personal medical cannabis production rules


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Dear Herb: Can someone pay you to look after, and grow their cannabis on their property if you aren't their caregiver?

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/06/2019 (1331 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dear Herb: Can someone pay you to look after, and grow their cannabis on their property if you aren’t their caregiver?

A friend of mine has offered to pay me to grow his cannabis on his property using all of his supplies and legal genetics. Is this legal? — Gardener for Hire

Dear Gardener for Hire: Thanks for your question. As usual, the answer to your question is, “It depends.” Being a caregiver has nothing to do with it.

Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he'll look into it.

The gardening-for-a-friend scenario you describe is only legally permissible with a specific kind of personal medical cannabis production licence. First, let’s briefly explore why you can’t legally tend to your friend’s cannabis garden if it only involves growing the regular four recreational cannabis plants permitted for adults under federal law.

The Cannabis Act is explicit: “Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for an individual who is 18 years of age or older… to cultivate, propagate or harvest any cannabis plant at a place that is not their dwelling-house or to offer to do so” (emphasis added).

Put another way, Canadian adults can only grow their four cannabis plants in or on the residential property where they personally live, not on someone else’s residential property or on a non-residential property. (I touched on this in a previous edition of Dear Herb, where I advised a letter-writer that their clever idea for a “grow your own weed” business wouldn’t comply with the law.)

As I mentioned before, the only scenario where your friend can legally compensate you for growing cannabis on his property involves a personal cannabis production licence that registers both you and your friend under Health Canada’s medical cannabis regime. This involves slogging through a multi-step bureaucratic process.

First, your friend would need the appropriate medical cannabis authorization signed by a physician or a nurse practitioner. Then, your friend would need to submit a special “Production of Cannabis for Own Medical Purposes by a Designated Person” application to Health Canada, which includes all kinds of information about the applicant (your friend, in this case), where they live and where they’re planning to have the cannabis grown, plus more information about the designated person (i.e., the grower) and where they live.

If you want to be your friend’s designated medical cannabis grower under this program, you’ll have to sign a declaration attesting that you haven’t been convicted of certain criminal offences in the past 10 years, and that you agree to follow all of Health Canada’s rules around personal medical cannabis production.

 I strongly recommend reading this Health Canada webpage outlining the basics of personal medical cannabis production first if you and your friend are interested in applying for one of these designated production licences. You would also be wise to study section 322 of the federal Cannabis Regulations, entitled “Production by designated person.”

As for the question of your friend paying you to grow that cannabis on his behalf: Yes, this is legally possible, but only after you and your friend have been granted the special licence I just described. Section 322(1)(c) of the regulations specifies that a registered designated grower can send, deliver, transport or sell the dried cannabis to the registered recipient of that cannabis but not to anyone else. They can’t sell more cannabis than the amount set out in the original registration document. (See also this previous edition of Dear Herb.)

Health Canada doesn’t specify how much that cannabis can be sold for. From my own conversations with designated medical cannabis growers, that’s worked out between the grower and the patient. Some designated growers I’ve spoken with only charge their registered patients enough to cover the costs of production, or they charge nothing at all.

Got a question about cannabis? Herb answers your questions about legal consumption and growing, the law, etiquette — you name it, he’ll look into it.

First, please check this list of questions already answered by Herb. Then, email, or to submit anonymously, fill out the form below. Please include an email address if you’d like to be notified when Herb answers your question:  


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