Canada Allows Medical Marijuana Users to Keep Growing Own Pot — For Now

A recent federal court ruling says that Canadian users of medical marijuana can continue using their home-grown product.

The expectation had been that Canadians would have to turn to professional, commercial suppliers for their medical marijuana. However, a March 21 federal court ruling said that medical marijuana users could continue growing their own pot at home.

That’s a big relief for many medical pot users, who feared that buying marijuana — in the form of a pill or spray — from commercial firms would be significantly more expensive.

“People that had established home gardens to cultivate cannabis had been panicking and didn’t want to destroy their crops, and didn’t want to get rid of their equipment and have to pay expensive prices to get it [medicinal marijuana] from commercial producers,” notes Lynne Belle-Isle, chair of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition.

However, it remains unclear how the rules will change in the coming months and years. Will there be rules allowing for home-grown operations in the future? And is there room for home growers in a medical marijuana market that’s estimated to have an annual worth of $1 billion?

“It’s very confusing right now, and for people like me who are thinking about this and absorbed in it all day, it’s kind of hard to keep track of what’s going on,” notes British Columbia marijuana activist, Dana Larsen. “For an average person … there’s a ton of confusion.”

The expectation is that the responsibility of producing the country’s medical marijuana will eventually shift to commercial suppliers, though as of today only three of twelve authorized licensed commericial producers are up and running. It’s possible the home-grown operations won’t be phased out until all commerical suppliers are ready to operate at full production.

And that may not be a bad thing, Larsen says. “The quality control is there,” Larsen noted. “There’s a safety aspect for the user, so that’s a good thing.”

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