Dear Herb: I'm a prescribed medical cannabis patient (five grams per day) and have my ACMPR licence to grow 10 outdoor plants.
Once the new law is in effect allowing Canadians to grow four plants for recreational use, can I grow my 10 for medicine, plus four more for recreation, for a total of 14 plants? — Growing my Grow-Op
Dear Growing: Thanks for your question, which will no doubt be of interest to lots of other medical marijuana users with a licence to grow their own.
The Cannabis Act itself doesn't provide the answer, but the new cannabis regulations released by Health Canada last week do. (They won't be officially published until July 11, though.)
Section 320 (2) of the new regulations, entitled "cumulative quantities," reads as follows:
(2) For greater certainty,
(a) the quantities of cannabis that a registered person is authorized to obtain by cultivation, propagation and harvesting, or to send, deliver, transport or possess, by virtue of a registration under this Division are in addition to any other quantities that they are permitted to obtain by cultivation, propagation and harvesting, or to send, deliver, transport or possess, under the Act.Advertisement
In this case, the "registered person" is someone with a licence for personal medical cultivation (i.e., you), and the "registration under this Division" is your licence.
Basically, this section confirms that your 10 licensed medical plants are in addition to any other amount of cannabis you can grow under the Cannabis Act (your four recreational plants).
In short, you'll definitely be authorized to expand your garden to 14 plants, but only after Oct. 17, when these regulations come into force.
A Health Canada spokesperson reminded me of a few caveats, of course.
First, you can only grow those four plants for recreational purposes if your provincial or territorial government allows it. If you live in Quebec, Manitoba or Nunavut, recreational cultivation is off the table for now.
(Be sure to check with your provincial government about any other security requirements for recreational cultivation, too — even though your Health Canada licence allows you to grow 10 medical plants outside, it's possible that your provincial or territorial government is restricting non-medical cannabis cultivation to indoors only.)
Second, your 10 medical plants will still be subject to whatever limitations are set out by your Health Canada registration.
Third, the spokesperson wrote that it's "illegal for them to share, provide or sell the cannabis they have produced with anyone else." (I'm assuming here that Health Canada is referring to your medical production, not your recreational production — the Cannabis Act makes it pretty clear that sharing up to 30 grams of home-grown recreational cannabis with other adults is fair game.)
So if you want to share your home-grown after legalization, make sure it's the harvest from your four recreational ladies and not your 10 medical plants.
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