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Trudeau’s Cannabis Task Force Report: Bans and Limits

(article previously posted at InsidetheJar)

Travis Lane

Part three in a series on the Federal Cannabis Task Force Report.

The most comical and ridiculous aspects of the report are, without a doubt, the recommendations for carry limits and home growing.

I suppose the government is going to want some kind of limit placed on carry quantities. The problem is that there is no way to set the limit that is not completely arbitrary.

If the government legalizes cannabis, actually removing in from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act(CDSA), then why impose carry limits at all?

There are no carry limits on other legal but heavily regulated goods, like alcohol, tobacco, painkillers, and other over the counter drugs.

If you are driving down the street with 1000 bottles of whiskey, 1000 cartons of cigarettes, and 1000 extra strength acetaminophen, all is good, as long as you paid tax when you bought the products and do not redistribute them.

The proposed cannabis carry limit for adult use is 30 grams. What happens if someone is carrying 30.5 grams remains unknown, but if there are limits there will be punishments.

This is why carry limits are so arbitrary. What difference is there between 30 grams and 31 grams? It is hard to imagine any impactful risks presented by someone with 40 grams in their pocket that are not presented by someone with 30 grams in their pocket.

If there is no evidence that carrying over 30 grams is detrimental for either the carrier or the people around them, it is just an arbitrary number plucked from thin air. As such, it is not legally tenable, and should never be implemented.

Sorry gramps, but it looks like you are over the carry limit for hand cream.

Toss in potential confusion around edibles, concentrates, and topicals, and this recommendation quickly loses all meaning. How many jars of infused arthritis cream can grandpa and grandma carry under these provisions? Will there be a one tray limit on brownies?

It is definitely a head-scratcher. If adopted, it would seem to make cannabis the only legal product in Canada that has such limits.

Where the recommendations for carry limits are arbitrary and untenable, the recommendations on home growing take it to the next level.

The report proposes only four plants be allowed for personal production. This is not a particularly effective way of limiting production quantity, as discovered during the MMAR days, because the size of the grow space and the size of the plants can allow for a wide variety of production capacities.

The task force surely heard that this had been a problem in the past, and so came up with a solution.

The solution? A height limit on plants of 100cm.

A photo of an indoor Marijuana grow.

While much of the report serves as a good starting point for discussion, this particular recommendation shows a level of ignorance and arbitrariness that is hard to fathom. It makes the whole paper seem ridiculous to anyone that has grown cannabis, or even tomatoes.

For one, limiting height doesn’t necessarily mean limiting yield. There is a whole body of cultivation techniques known as low stress training(LST) in which you bend and arrange the plant to have a shorter, more uniform canopy.

For two, is it going to be the job of police and inspectors to go into people’s houses and yards to measure their plants? As far as I know, there is no inspection team for home brewers or tobacco growers. What is the max height of a tobacco plant, anyway? It will cost lots money for investigation and enforcement of home growers, and that just doesn’t jive with the Canadian public’s priorities.

I would like someone to explain the difference between a 100cm plant and a 101cm plant. How could this group recommend that one should be legal and that the other presents enough of a danger to outlaw it?

Not just for tailors anymore.

This recommendation fails in every way. Imagine going out of town for a day, and leaving a 99cm plant well watered, only to return to a suddenly illegal 101cm plant. Maybe you didn’t even leave town, but just went to bed, and woke up as a criminal grower.

If someone is busted with that 101cm plant, are they arrested, fined, or do authorities simply take the plant away?  How tall is a plant if laid on its side?

It is all completely absurd.

In a truly legalized environment, the limits on production should stem from distribution. If you sell your product, you must deal with a regulatory framework. If you consume it all yourself, it should not matter. Regulation is about impact on others.

Regulating cannabis will require some give and take, with a lot of common sense solutions for peripheral concerns. These outlandishly arbitrary and unenforceable recommendations are lacking in this regard, to an almost laughable extent.

Recommending something that can never be effective or implemented is the obvious lowlight of the report.

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