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This article was published 2/3/2020 (569 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg will lobby the feds for more control over the number of marijuana plants a medicinal user can grow in one home.
After complaints that a few local residences each contained hundreds of the legally grown plants, council’s property and development committee voted Monday to ask Ottawa for help restricting the number.
The committee did not suggest the exact maximum number of plants that should be allowed.
Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) pushed for the change, arguing the city should allow no more than 20 plants to be grown in each home, with commercial operations handling larger cultivation.
"This is about protecting our citizens from adverse effects from huge medical cannabis operations," he said.
The councillor said he believes odours coming from affected homes pose a nuisance to nearby neighbours. He said he’s learned of houses with about 300 plants, which he doesn’t believe anyone requires to medicate themselves.
"The people that live next door to (those) places, it’s totally unreasonable for them and their families," said Eadie.
A Health Canada formula determines the number of plants that can be grown by each registered medicinal marijuana user. For example, an approved user with a prescription to use one gram of dried marijuana per day could grow five plants in their home.
Some homeowners are also permitted to grow additional plants for other patients.
The city said the federal agency doesn’t actually set a maximum limit on the number of indoor pot plants a medical user can grow.
Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital), who chairs Winnipeg’s property and development committee, said he’s received multiple complaints over two properties that are each suspected of growing a large number of pot plants.
Since the matter falls under federal regulation, Mayes said he agrees Winnipeg should lobby Ottawa for more control.
"If it gets to a certain size, these should be located in industrial zone areas, not within a stone’s throw of somebody’s school ... The problem is we don’t have the power to enforce it," said Mayes.
In an email, city spokesperson Kalen Qually noted that under the current system, local grow-op complaints are handled by the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), who contact Health Canada to find out if the marijuana growth is legal. If it is legal, police then end their involvement, Qually wrote.
"WPS have received many formal and informal complaints from the public," he added.
John Kiernan, Winnipeg’s director of planning, property and development, said any enforcement is complicated by concerns over privacy rights and access to health care.
"You … don’t want to infringe upon people’s human rights, to be able to have easy access to their medication," said Kiernan.
He said such concerns are typically deemed to trump land-use planning rules.
Due to an email issue, a Health Canada official said the agency was unable to comment Monday.
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.