New medical cannabis bylaws would shift burden to patients: advocate

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The City of Winnipeg is set to ban some medical cannabis growth within homes, leaving a local advocate to fear it could hurt patients more than it helps concerned neighbours.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2021 (294 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The City of Winnipeg is set to ban some medical cannabis growth within homes, leaving a local advocate to fear it could hurt patients more than it helps concerned neighbours.

“(This adds) burdens, onerous regulations, licences and fees… The sick Canadians who need (cannabis) are losing out,” Steven Stairs, president of the Winnipeg 420 Organizing Committee, told media Thursday.

The comments came a few hours before city council directed staff to create new bylaw rules for those designated by Health Canada to grow cannabis on someone else’s behalf.

A new city bylaw will set stricter rules for people designated by Health Canada to grow cannabis on someone else’s behalf. (Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press files)

The changes will restrict that type of cannabis growth to indoor facilities in manufacturing zones and ban it from residential areas. Such growers will also need to obtain valid business licences, meet set standards for air filtration and locate a minimum distance away from homes, schools, public parks and playgrounds.

The city will inspect the facilities and issue fines to violators. Those who grow cannabis for personal medical use are exempt.

New licence fees and filtration system costs could be expected to be passed on to medicinal cannabis users, Stairs said. He fears the new rules could also entice designated growers to attempt to register as personal growers instead, which could lead them to produce smaller numbers of plants in more homes, spreading out the growth.

Stairs stressed the federal government and police are best suited to deal with those who simply grow more plants than they’re permitted to.

“If you are doing something illegal in a system designed for sick people… you need to be kicked out of that system,” he said.

The upcoming bylaw changes were welcomed by several other Winnipeggers who say some homes contain hundreds of pot plants each and forced them to endure intense odours and an increased risk of fire and crime.

“Homes are for people, not factories,” Laurie Monk told council.

Council could address any lingering concerns when the final bylaw changes are ready, Mayor Brian Bowman said. For now, the current plan offers a valid way to address medical grow op complaints, he said.

“I think (this) finds a reasonable and a balanced path forward,” said Bowman.

The exact bylaw changes are expected to be ready for a council vote in about six months.

joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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