How Quebec could allow Home-Growing marijuana?
Home-Growing marijuana – The inevitable legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada has been bringing up more questions than answers since the Federal Government first introduced Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, in the House of Commons in April of 2017. The third and final reading of the Bill by the Senate is expected no later than June 7th 2018, with Canada-wide legalization on July 1st 2018 – but there could be a delay of up to 2-3 months before legal weed is actually available for consumers.
The provincial and territorial governments need at least eight to twelve weeks following the final vote to be ready for actual retail sales – and one of the more challenging and controversial aspects of legalization is the ‘personal cultivation’ of cannabis at home. Bill C-45 will allow Canadians the option of growing up to four legal cannabis plants per residence – but Quebecers are being told they will not be able to grow their own. Manitoba is the only other province that will not allow it.
Provinces and territories are being given the right to develop their own regulations and systems for cannabis production, consumption and sales. Along with those rights, Quebec has chosen to not allow people to grow their own cannabis at all, contravening the four-plant limit allowed under Bill C-45.
It is sure to create even more controversy as Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould clearly stated said that the federal law will prevail if it is challenged in court. But there is a very legit concern here. Not only does cannabis have a very strong smell when smoked (and inhaling second-hand smoke from pot has another element to it, as one can potentially feel its effects), but the plants themselves give off a very strong odour that can be smelled by one’s neighbours, either indoors in buildings and even outdoors in backyards. It’s not like alcohol at all in that sense.
Concerns have also been raised about children having access to the plants or the potential mould that could arise growing it and even the amount of electric power being used – but there could be a solution to all of that, one the Quebec government should consider. Two popular options that have been around for some time now have been capturing the attention of Canadians poised to grow their own.
For indoor cultivation there is what is called the ‘Marijuana Grow Box’. It looks like a small cabinet or even a small fridge and is used to grow cannabis under controlled conditions. The boxes come with fans and filters – and with most now having LED lights it minimizes electrical usage. Even then, the power used to run a typical grow box is nothing compared to the illegal grow ops we’ve seen in the news being raided by police. The advantage is that the plants are contained, there is no smell (unless you open it), no need to worry about mould and most importantly, Marijuana Grow Boxes can be locked – giving you the security of knowing nobody else can have access to it, especially young children.
The boxes can range in price from a few hundred dollars for a smaller one, to several thousand dollars and up for a large deluxe box (more of an industrial model used to produce far more than one home would be allowed to). Given the four-plant limit allowed under Bill C-45, a small box will easily accommodate 4 plants and not infringe on anyone’s right to breathing clean, fresh air.
As for outdoor cultivation, the same applies as far as safety and strong odour is concerned – and why a Backyard Greenhouse, during the warmer season, could also resolve the same issues. You also don’t need a very big structure to do so – and energy consumption is practically nil, as the only lighting you will need comes from the sun.
A greenhouse could significantly lower the smell coming from the plants, especially at the flowering stage when they start growing their coveted buds. What many people have been doing is simply growing other aromatic plants beside them, like flowers and herbs to mask the smell. As for security, the plants can’t really be seen if the walls of the greenhouse are built with semi-transparent glass or polycarbonate sheets.
You can build your own or buy one and make sure it has a door with a lock, keeping children away and even those who might want to try and steal your crop. But greenhouses will not work for everyone – first you need to have your own backyard and they need to be placed in an area facing the sun all day. They are also more expensive than a Grow Box – prices for a small greenhouse can run from around $700 to upwards of $5000 and more.
Whether it be a Grow Box or a Greenhouse, it would behoove the Quebec government to look into it, before making any final decisions. They could set something up where people would have to get a permit first in order to do so – and this way it can be properly monitored and controlled.
In the end, most people will probably prefer the convenience of just dropping by one of the Societé Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) stores to get their goods. But if Quebec does not allow people to grow their own plants, they might find a significant number of people continuing to rely on the black market, instead of paying the higher cost of cannabis proposed by the government. And wasn’t the whole idea of legalization about keeping cannabis off the streets in the first place?
What is your opinion? Should Quebecers be allowed to grow their own plants – under controlled and specific conditions?
Feature image: Medium Backyard Greenhouse