This article was originally published on December 24, 2018. Last update August 7, 2019.
If you wanted to know how to grow cannabis in Canada, look no more. This guide will take you through everything from seeds, plants, and what’s legal.
What does the law say?
Cannabis Act –
“Subsection 12: Production, cultivation, propagation and harvesting — 18 years of age or older
(4) Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for an individual who is 18 years of age or older to cultivate, propagate or harvest, or to offer to cultivate, propagate or harvest,
(a) a cannabis plant that is from a seed or plant material that they know is illicit cannabis;
(b) more than four cannabis plants at any one time in their dwelling-house.”
What Are ‘Legal’ Seeds?
Within Canada’s legal cannabis market many find an onslaught of legal confusion with limited access to short stock. So just grow your own! Right?
Well, provinces vary; Manitoba Quebec and Nunavut have been stern, while others have given the go ahead. If your province has allowed personal production where you live based on municipal and provincial laws, then you just have to follow the simple federal rules. No minors, no selling, no more than four plant not visible from a public space, and also only if it’s from legal seed.
Only plants originating from seed regulated through the LDB is allowed- unregistered cannabis is still illicit. Currently, non-medical persons are allowed genetics confined strictly to seed sold by authorized retailers from the handful of producers licensed to operate. An influx will come in from new license holders which may not mean an influx in supply until nurseries are granted the go ahead, despite optimistic hopes upcoming producers carry for consumers.
According to Health Canada:
“From October 17, 2018 to late November, Health Canada had received approximately 14 new applications, and these include applications for standard or micro licenses, as well as for research and analytical testing licenses.”
August 7, 2019
Between January 1, 2019 – July 31, 2019, Health Canada has received applications for: 262 standard cultivation licenses, 138 Micro cultivation’s, and 7 nurseries.
During this time, 55 new applications for cultivations and nurseries have been granted.
Seed distributors don’t even exist yet! (December 24, 2018)
Currently no distributor carries seed, with no schedule for when they will. In the chance you find one with your legally purchased cannabis, you will keep in the green. These seeds have been weighed taxed and ‘POSed’ as your cannabis, albeit accidentally; your new freedom to grow can be liberated.
Cannabis industry’s response on seeds
According to the BC Liquor Distribution Branch:
“Unfortunately at this time there is still a lack of availability of seeds from licensed producers.
We are working with those suppliers that wish to supply seeds, however at this time we cannot say when we might have seeds available for purchase.”
“We are looking to sell other cannabis related products, like seeds, in the future. However, as of current, we do not have a timeframe for when these will be for sale in some of our shops.”
The Ontario Cannabis Store said:
“At the moment we are not selling any seeds. As new products become available we will update it on our website.”
Licensed producer Medreleaf responded:
“At the moment we do not have plans to make our propagation materials available for purchase.”
To quote Broken Coast:
“Broken Coast is a very small facility, which isn’t set up for these type of sales at this time. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes.”
August 7, 2019
As we reported on January 4, 2019, seeds did go online for sale in at least two provinces. The two strains that became available then are the only two strains available eight months later.
The website listing licensed cultivators now lists authorized distributors of seeds and live plants. There are nine producers able to distribute plants. However, there are only three that can distribute seed, one of which is under investigation. At the time of this update the only producers that have been authorized to sell seeds are:
Two strains of seeds are now available across most provinces now, yet only Tweed seems to be allowed to sell them.
Weed Me stated:
“Our seeds are imported as we have a partner ship with Dutch Passion. As per Health Canada’s current regulations we are only able to sell our seeds medicinally.”
According to Canntrust:
“We are currently on a temporary hold and not selling anything at this time. We have distrubuted seed, though.”
What Does This Still Mean?
Whether people are liberally growing Cannabis at home or not is beyond debate, with more likely to continue. However, it is apparent many are unaware their liberal freedom is causing them to commit a federal offense by accident – growing cannabis they did not purchase through our government. How can you blame anyone given a complete lack of access to seeds on top of rampant flower shortages in Cannabis Act’s infancy?
As it stands, with all the wrinkles working themselves out, only a handful of court cases have appeared. Soon, more legal battles will come once law enforcement starts implementing the new laws, but this won’t occur until we adjust to legalization and a licensed market is properly established.
Allocating this time gap gives plenty of room for many to grow a few personal plants before we hear of too many issues regarding homegrown cannabis. A lack of both public knowledge and legal seed will catalyze our freedom’s misdirection.
It will be all too apparent for those who claim their seed origins, realizing only then, they were never actually growing cannabis legally to begin with.
And that’s despite all other rules having been followed to ensure ‘public safety’; frankly, ‘neighborhood convenience’ may be better language in present context!
A greater concern may be facilitated through our right to silence being overruled if an officer breaks enforcement protocol such as utilizing their tools to probe tracking data based on a vague, previously invalid suspicion, potentially still confirming an illegal source if you’re completely absent in the system.
These investigations into tracking may ultimately void your attempts at silence, leading to inspections and search warrants, which are actions validated through Subsections 87 and 102 of the Cannabis Act.
Many individuals may be in possession of cannabis growing from illicit sources, with an earnest lack of awareness for any or all Subsections described in the following interview.
Hopefully no one will proudly be exclaiming their seeds origin to an officer, learning these truths too late to protect themselves, and potentially waiving further rights, leading to a search within the associated dwelling, leaving them to argue their case further in a court setting.
A quick interview with Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, RCMP media relations advisor
CLN: Is the RCMP Worried About Home Production?
Janelle Shoihet: The RCMP enforcement priorities are focused on Impaired Driving, large scale cannabis production, importation and exportation and use in public places which have the largest impact on public safety.
For those who are planning on growing Cannabis, how necessary is it they purchase them through an authorized store?
Section 8(1)(b) of the federal Cannabis Act states that unless authorized under the Act, it is prohibited for a person to possess any cannabis they know is illicit cannabis.
If someone obtained seeds, plants, or cannabis products outside the legal framework and police were able to determine, either through their own admission or other means, where they obtained their illegal cannabis; that person, business, or address could be the subject of further investigation enforcement action.
What tools does an officer carry to verify product “outside the legal framework’’ without an individual’s verbal confirmation?
Section 10 and 11 of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act have provisions for the General Manager to share information with police. In the context of a police investigation, police could request information that is collected by the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch which may include video footage, and/or sales information.
My rights to silence may be best then. If I raise enough suspicion of illicitly sourced seed or am in a situation of unavoidable disclosure, what actions may follow after confirmation through these investigations?
Section 87 of the Cannabis Act and section 102 of the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act provide search warrant provisions. A police officer could write an information to obtain a search warrant and present that information to a Judicial Justice or Judge who would review the application, and based on the totality of the circumstances, determine if the search warrant should be granted. These will be pursued on a case by case basis and situational dependent.
The legislation gives officers the authority to seize any cannabis that they believe on reasonable grounds to be possessed in contravention of the act. It would be incumbent on the person in possession to prove otherwise.
Author’s Thoughts in Conclusion
If you’ think they have to go through a lot of work for an issue they claim to not be worried about, you are not alone. It’s likely many officers will do their best to avoid jeopardizing your freedom, however; laws are written the way they are. Your harmless actions can only truly be respected to an extent.
If freedom has truly been granted, more than two strains would be offered to cannabis consumers for home production in the last ten months of legalization. Furthermore, one should never face a prison sentence for growing illicit cannabis, let alone the three month maximum sentence for growing legal cannabis that is visible from a public space.
Non-Medical Seed Share
Sharing more than four seeds from authorized distributors is allowed, even up to 30g of dry flower and four plants without buds. Sale is restricted, only exchange through gifting is allowed.
Seed Trade services charging for registration while gifting the seeds for free are technically classed as organizations which are banned from selling, trading, or gifting.
Sharing can start among all individual Canadians once someone has been growing lawfully obtained Cannabis for long enough to pollinate, further producing personal seeds. The only trouble is, no one has access to legal genetics yet! Aside fom a few accidentals found within their orders, which may be comprised from processing, on top of their highly limited potential overall.
What If My Friend Has Their ACMPR?
If your friend’s plants were legal before prohibition ended, through their Health Canada approved medical license; then they would have submitted a Personal Use Production License “PUPL,” It also would mean they are not allowed to share that cannabis with more than one other medical patient, including the seeds. Your friend could find themselves facing consequences for their actions, including losing their medical license.
As Health Canada warned:
“Any person who violates the terms of their authorization could face compliance action, such as the revocation of their registration.
Should I Even Worry?
You will probably go unnoticed, as many have done in the illegal market. You can even try dodging your way through dishonest loopholes if necessary.
Keeping quiet if it’s homegrown and taking the lesser fine simply for possessing illegal cannabis may be an option.
What then is the point of Cannabis being legal, if you choose living in a deceitful shadow? If an honest accident caused by misinformation can lead you into a court case?
Options should be free enough that a common individual should not feel a need to brave or fear slipping into any risks. Especially not embark on them unknowingly.
Sale of seed was never scrutinized, up until the infamous Emery case regarding exportation into the USA. The difference now is people have a legal right to grow cannabis. Whereas before, a person knew growing that seed was illegal, there was no option otherwise. Large surpluses of illicit seeds are still available, of course without carry a statement advertising that fact. Certain seed share services from ACMPR patients claim validity, which isn’t the case. These trade services are operating under the guise of being a legitimate business while putting many in a position of legal risk, despite their compassionate incentive.
Taxed and Excise Stamp
Only licensed producers are granted an excise stamp, a tax verification system. Sale of Cannabis must be taxed to exist as a structured market in our society due to necessary regulations. Regardless argument over free market or simply the excessive costs created. Seeds fit no different in a taxable market, that being said; so long as funds from this charge regulate parts of the market that benefits us, quality control for example. If seeds are sold through the LDB with these extra costs, then there must be a guarantee genetics are true, regardless the chemovore’s actual outcome. Also seed must be feminized if that is what is advertised, with a guarantee if this outcome varies. If measures to ensure such standards are followed thoroughly, requirement for excise stamps is just.
Cannabis excise and tax stamp. Photo courtesy of The Leaf News.
Taking Our Time Away
Nurturing a living a plant is far different than owning a bag of weed. An investment of personal time and effort is made for a life which may last a long time. Taking this time from people will be unjust if they started that journey from a seed. Worth far more value than just the 250$ worth of weed one can transport at a time. Nurseries need regulation with new avenues opening into Cannabis’ market for seed sale.
Featured image courtesy of Daily Maverick.