Canadian Parliament in Ottawa

Liberal MP Says Recreational Personal Growing Is A Matter Of Freedom

A Liberal MP sponsoring a petition to allow Canadians to grow their own recreational cannabis plants says the issue is “a matter of both personal freedom and public safety.”

Beaches—East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith has sponsored e-petition e-115 that calls on the Liberal government to provide the same rights to legal cannabis users as alcohol users have with the ability to produce wine and beer in their homes.

“If Canadian adults can brew their own beer, there is no reason to restrict them from growing their own marijuana plants, given that all of the available evidence clearly shows that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana,” said Erskine-Smith.

Erskine-Smith said as his party moves toward legalization of cannabis, it’s important that it include a home growing system that he said should help undermine the flow of profit to the black market, with limitations.

“It’s important to emphasize that any personal growing rules should limit the number of plants (for example, Oregon is 4 plants, and Uruguay is 6), and that selling the product from such plants should not be permitted,” he said.

While the MP said that it’s too early to say if the Liberals will include a provision to allow for personal growing in their plans for legalization he said that he’s hopeful, as the party has said in the past that it’s committed to “evidence-based decision-making.”

Government online petitions, which require 500 signatures be collected within 120 days before they’re read in the House of Commons, don’t necessarily always have the endorsement of the MPs that sponsor them, but Erskine-Smith said that isn’t the case here.

“I do believe that we should look closely to Oregon, Uruguay, and other public health focused models that incorporate reasonable household plant limits for personal consumption,” he said. “I have already voiced this opinion, and will continue to do so as the debate on this topic moves forward.”

The government’s new e-petition system launched earlier this year and already has two other cannabis related movements, including one that looks to provide pardons for those convicted of cannabis related crimes in the past, and another that wants to remove tax charged on medical cannabis purchases.