Get buzzed while supporting a worthy cause Profits from TobaGrown joints funds legal challenge against growing your own recreational pot

A local grow-your-own cannabis advocate wants you to support his lawsuit against the province — and other worthy causes — while you get high.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/02/2022 (367 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A local grow-your-own cannabis advocate wants you to support his lawsuit against the province — and other worthy causes — while you get high.

By the end of the month, TobaGrown joints should be available in at least 28 Manitoba dispensaries. Revenue from the not-for-profit’s joints will largely go to paying court fees in a case challenging the province’s ban on growing your own cannabis.

“People can not only smoke high potency, high-quality cannabis, (but) they can support a cause,” said Jesse Lavoie, TobaGrown’s founder and the lead behind suing the province.

Canada’s Cannabis Act allows adults to cultivate up to four cannabis plants per household for recreational use. However, Manitoba and Quebec have banned such activities.

Lavoie has been championing growing recreational cannabis in Manitoba homes for nearly two years.

“I think (Manitoba) should swallow this one and surrender,” said Lavoie, who filed his notice of application in August of 2020. “The other option is meeting us in court, where I strongly believe we’re going to… defeat them.”

JESSE BOILY / FREE PRESS FILES Jesse Lavoie anticipates being in the legal battle for quite some time.

He’s filed affidavits, as have experts he’s called upon; the province has submitted too. Lavoie is prepared to take the constitutional challenge to the Supreme Court.

The lengthy process means legal fees are adding up. Lavoie launched a GoFundMe; between it and selling t-shirts, he’s raised $29,000 for the cause. The legal bills are sitting around $65,000, and Lavoie, who works in the cannabis industry, has been fronting most of them.

Three months ago, he formed an idea to fund the movement by selling products.

“The best thing about this whole thing… is seeing all of these Manitoba companies (coming together) to build a product that will be enticing, enjoyable and for a good cause,” Lavoie said.

He contacted organizations across the province he’d known through work.

TobaRolls, a pack of three 0.5 gram pre-rolled joints, should be available by the end of February in local retailers, Lavoie said.

‘People can not only smoke high potency, high-quality cannabis, (but) they can support a cause’ – Jesse Lavoie, TobaGrown’s founder

“So far, there’s been a limited amount of local producers and Manitoba-based cannabis products that are available,” said Ariel Glinter, director of business development for The Joint Cannabis Shop.

Lavoie pitched his product to The Joint months ago.

“We jumped at it,” Glinter said.

TobaGrown’s joints are sold through CannMart, a licensed producer based in Ontario. Retailers including Cottontail, Farmer Jane, Garden Variety and Meta have confirmed they’ll carry the products.

TobaSquad, a line of pre-rolled joints with flowers from seven Manitoban producers, will come out later this year.

“We’re going to keep these products indefinitely on the shelves, and they’ll be indefinitely not-for-profit products,” Lavoie said.

JESSE BOILY / FREE PRESS FILES Lavoie has been championing growing recreational cannabis in Manitoba homes for nearly two years.

Any profits not spent on legal fees will go to charity, he said. Harvest Manitoba, the Manitoba Metis Heritage Fund, Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, True North Aid and Seth Rogen’s Hilarity for Charity are on the list.

However, Lavoie anticipates being in the legal battle for quite some time. He’s hired two lawyers — cannabis lawyer Jack Lloyd and another Lavoie won’t yet announce — who are also involved in a Quebec case fighting for the same thing.

The Supreme Court should hear the Quebec case in summer of 2023, Lavoie said, adding that with any luck, Manitoba will join them.

“I will grow the four biggest cannabis plants anyone’s ever seen,” Lavoie said, picturing a potential win.

Manitoba has no intentions of changing the law, a provincial spokesperson said. Those who grow cannabis for recreational use face a $2,542 fine.

“(It’s) consistent with Manitoba’s commitment to protect children and youth and to eliminate the illegal market, and is supported by law enforcement,” the spokesperson said in a written statement.

“We’re going to keep these products indefinitely on the shelves, and they’ll be indefinitely not-for-profit products.” – Jesse Lavoie

Authorized medical cannabis users can grow for medical use, as long as they have a licence from Health Canada.

Glinter from The Joint has no opinion on the court case. But, people growing from home likely won’t impact the recreational cannabis business negatively, he said.

“I think it would probably be more than made up for by the increased sales of things like seeds,” he said, adding The Joint could sell other products for growing too.

Lavoie was still solidifying TobaGrown product prices. He plans to expand to other provinces, including Saskatchewan.

Ottawa legalized cannabis — and growing it recreationally from home — in 2018.

gabrielle.piche@winnipegfreepress.com

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché
Reporter

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.

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