Medical marijuana growers hoping the federal government would be lax in implementing its new ban on self-grown pot next month are likely to be disappointed.
In a statement released Friday, Health Canada says that users who grow their own supply in their homes, or buy from small growers licenced under the old program, will not only have to destroy the stash before April 1, but also submit a form promising they've destroyed it and are no longer producing. Otherwise, Health Canada "will notify law enforcement."
This threat of legal action contradicts information in a Health Canada memo from last fall, in which the agency said it doesn't intend to share previous growers' personal info with law enforcement, Vancouver's Georgia Straight reports.
Users have to send in the form by April 30.
The changes to the medical marijuana program will limit legal growing to licensed companies which will mail out pre-dried packages of pot to those with a prescription. The federal government has certified 10 producers so far.
The government claims the new rules will reduce illegal trafficking and health hazards caused by growing the plant in private homes, but many users say they worry market prices will make the drug too expensive for them to buy. Health Canada estimates the average price of a gram will rise to $7.60 from the current price of $1.80 to $5, but one licensed company has already said it will offer a discount to those on social assistance or disability.
The federal agency also offers a suggestion on its website for destroying leftover marijuana, to add water to it before mixing it in with cat litter and throwing it out, a solution one user calls "ridiculous."
Opponents of the changes have threatened they might defy the new rules and a few are taking legal action. A B.C. lawyer has launched a constitutional challenge against the law, and an Ottawa couple has sued the federal government for $6.5 million.
A view of Tweed Inc.’s mother room, where plants are subjected to 24 hours of light each day to encourage growth.
The Tweed Inc. medical marijuana facility is across the street from the Smith’s Falls police detachment. The police have toured the plant and had one request: don’t put a giant marijuana leaf on the front of the building.
Tweed CEO Chuck Rifici stands in front of the hydroponics centre. The black vats contain fertilizer, while the silver ones are refurbished sugar containers from the Hershey’s operation which now contain water.
Tweed has been busy transforming the former chocolate factory into a massive marijuana growing operation that will cover 150,000 square feet.
A Tweed employee re-pots some plants in the “mother room,” home to the 1,300 starter plants that are used to propagate more.
Rifici stands in front of the company’s 5,000-square-foot vault that can store up to 15 million grams, or $150 million-worth, of dried marijuana.
Each of Tweed’s plants is labelled with a bar code identifying its strain and origin so that it can be traced throughout the growing process.
Rifici stands in front of the highly secure and sanitary mother room.
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are Tweed’s biggest expense, but the company also uses low-tech fans from Canadian Tire to keep air flowing.
The entrance to the Tweed facility.
The golden letters that once adorned the front of the Hershey’s factory now lie in an unused corner of the building.
The old Hershey’s Canada plant was shuttered in 2008, putting some 600 people out of work.
NEXT: WHICH PROVINCE TOKES THE MOST?
Canada - 12.2 Per Cent
3,429,678 people These are the <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130918/dq130918a-eng.htm" target="_blank">StatsCan totals</a> for Canadians age 15 years and older in the 12 months of 2012. Use included cannabis and hashish.
10. Saskatchewan - 10.1 Per Cent
9. P.E.I. - 10.4 Per Cent
8. New Brunswick - 11 Per Cent
7. Newfoundland And Labrador - 11.1 Per Cent
6. Quebec - 11.5 Per Cent
5. Manitoba - 11.5 Per Cent
4. Alberta - 11.8 Per Cent
3. Ontario - 12.1 Per Cent
2. B.C. - 14.2 Per Cent
1. Nova Scotia - 14.8 Per Cent
115,285 people <a href="http://huff.to/18g3q4l" target="_blank">Trailer Park Boys thesis proved</a>.
NEXT: WEED PRICES BY PROVINCE AND STATE
Pot price by province and select U.S. states
This data is based on crowdsourced averages from PriceOfWeed.com. Numbers are for "high quality" weed, as identified by submitters.
Quebec: $191.51 per ounce
Cheapest weed in Canada.
Prince Edward Island: $193.29 per ounce
New Brunswick: $193.90 per ounce
British Columbia: $200.07 per ounce
Oregon: $214.79 per ounce
Cheapest weed in the U.S.
Alberta: $226.55 per ounce
Manitoba: $227.86 per ounce
Ontario: $237.24 per ounce
Saskatchewan: $239.31 per ounce
California: $249.79 per ounce
Nova Scotia: $272.26 per ounce
Newfoundland and Labrador: $292.73 per ounce
Northwest Territories: $333.33 per ounce
New York State: $353.90 per ounce
North Dakota: $415.89 per ounce
Most expensive weed in the U.S.
Most expensive weed in Canada.