Dear Herb: The summer grab bag edition
Canada's favourite cannabis advice columnist answers a medley of short questions from recent months
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/07/2019 (1309 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Rather than answering one question in-depth, this week’s edition of Dear Herb will cover multiple short questions that fell through the cracks over the past few months. Think of it as a blended cannabis advice product, made from sweepings off The Leaf’s newsroom floor.
Dear Herb: Does the law differentiate between male and female cannabis plants? — Dioecious Dilemma
Dear Dioecious: No, the federal Cannabis Act does not explicitly distinguish between staminate (male) and pistillate (female) cannabis plants. The legal definition of a cannabis plant is simply, “a plant that belongs to the genus Cannabis,” and that definition encompasses cannabis plants of either sex (or a cannabis plant with intersex traits, for that matter).
If you want to grow cannabis plants at home, and you’re not registered to grow your own medical cannabis, you are still limited to four cannabis plants — male or female.
Dear QP: A QP is a quarter pound, or roughly 113 grams of cannabis. Since the federal Cannabis Act prohibits public possession of more than 30 grams of non-medical cannabis, no legally authorized cannabis store will ever sell more than 30 grams of cannabis at once. Therefore, I can infer from your question that the website you’re ordering from is almost certainly an illegal online cannabis dispensary. Any cannabis sold from such a store would be illicit cannabis, which is illegal to possess.
Like I mentioned before, you can’t legally possess more than 30 grams of cannabis in public without a medical cannabis registration. Taking your illicit cannabis home from the post office would violate that law as well.
Dear Herb: I’ve been wondering about this for some time now. What is the government’s definition of a ‘plant’ when it comes to cannabis? To me, it would have to be actively growing in a medium (hydroponic medium or soil). If that is the legal definition, what would the laws around selling/gifting ‘cuttings’ be?
I could grow a massive “mother” plant, take 10+ cuttings off her, prep them and sell them as is. The buyer would then need to propagate the cuttings in order for it to become an actively growing plant.
Seems like there are still a few loopholes/grey areas that need to be addressed. — Looking for a Loophole
Dear Looking: The legal definition of a cannabis plant is neither a loophole or a grey area, I’m afraid. It’s defined quite explicitly in the federal Cannabis Act, which says a “cannabis plant means a plant that belongs to the genus Cannabis.” No mention is made of whether or not the plant is actively growing.
In my opinion, that definition clearly applies to the cannabis plant cuttings you describe. Under a strict interpretation of that legal definition, each cannabis plant cutting would equal one cannabis plant. It’s very much illegal to sell cannabis without a licence to do so, which means selling those cuttings as an unlicensed individual would constitute a crime. It would also be a crime for an individual to possess more than four cannabis plants at once, without a medical cultivation licence.
I get the argument that you’re making — that the cuttings wouldn’t actually count as a plant until they’ve been propagated — but I question whether that argument would fly in court, so I think you’d be taking a big legal risk by trying to sell cannabis cuttings like this.
Dear Upper Limit: Theoretically you can store an infinite amount of cannabis at home in Ontario without breaking the law, as long as it’s not illicit cannabis. Ontario has not placed a limit on cannabis possession at home (see this previous edition of Dear Herb for information about cannabis possession limits elsewhere.) The limit for cannabis possession in public remains 30 grams, as in every other province.
Dear Dabs: Since legally-produced shatter isn’t yet available for sale as of today, any shatter you possess would likely be considered illicit cannabis under the law. It’s illegal to possess illicit cannabis anywhere, including on a plane.
After shatter is legalized for commercial production and sales later this year, you will be able to carry up to 7.5 grams of legal shatter in public, including on a domestic Canadian flight.
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 email@example.com, 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: