It’s been a while since Canada officially passed laws allowing recreational cannabis use on a federal level. Not only did the rules and regulations of the Cannabis Act allow citizens of legal age to use cannabis, but also to grow it
There are a lot of limitations to the recreational growing laws, like the fact that citizens growing under the Cannabis Act for non-medical reasons can only cultivate a maximum of 4 plants. Tons of Canadian citizens aren’t exactly thrilled with this 4-plant limitation, but as it turns out, the government knows what it’s doing and there’s a logic behind their thought process.
The Basics of Recreational Growing
Before getting into why the recreational growing limit in Canada is 4 plants per household, let’s cover the basics of growing under the Cannabis Act. According to the Canadian health services, “adults who are 18 or 19 years or older (depending on province or territory) are able to grow up to 4 plants per residence (not per person) for personal use from legally acquired seeds or seedlings.”
Some Important Notes on Growing Under the Cannabis Act
The part of this that’s most worth noting is the per residence bit. The 4-plants per rule is not based on individuals, but households. So if you have 3 roommates and you all want to take advantage of the recreational growing laws, you unfortunately won’t be able to grow 4 plants, but only 1 each.
It’s also important to note that not all provinces allow recreational growing. Most of them do, but residents of Manitoba and Quebec are only allowed to buy from licensed government-approved producers – not grow on their own from home. The minimum age for legal use and growing (in most provinces) changes from province to province, but it’s always either 18 or 19 years old.
So Why Is There a 4-Plant Limit?
First off, there’s no need for a recreational grower to have more than 4 plants, even for heavy cannabis use. Growing more than that can only mean that an individual is selling their home-cultivated cannabis illegally – at least that’s what the cops will think if they bust your more-than-4-plants grow op.
Growing 4 plants under the Cannabis Act isn’t meant to be a “grow op”. Global News says that with growing 4 plants, “there’s been a lot of concern around a home grow as it relates to electrical operations in a house, mold and fungus, but that’s typically in a much higher number of plants…four plants certainly won’t be anywhere close to wrecking a home in that sense.”
That’s another huge reason why the federal and provincial governments are only allowing 4 plants and nothing more. Once a grow op becomes larger than just 4 plants, there’s a greater potential for damage to a home caused by electrical issues, water damage, etc.
Major indoor grow ops can wreak havoc on a home’s structural integrity, and this is something that landlords are not OK with. Some are still wary about letting tenants grow only 4 plants, and even growers who own their own homes aren’t thrilled with the idea of potential damage. But research has shown that growing 4 plants indoors is very unlikely to cause any harm.
There’s a Way to Grow More than 4 Plants
Now that you know the reasons why recreational growers have to max out at 4 plants, it’s time to focus on the alternative. If you’re like millions of other Canadians who use marijuana for medical purposes, there’s a way around the measly 4-plant limit, and that is to receive an ACMPR license.
What Is the ACMPR?
Medical growth in Canada started back in the early 2000s when the government realized that patients needed a way to gain better access to medical marijuana. There have been several programs over the years regulating medical cannabis buying and growing, but the one that is in place today is the ACMPR.
The ACMPR, short for Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, is a federal Canadian program that regulates the use and cultivation of medical marijuana. Although they fall under the same government category, ACMPR rules and regulations are completely different from the recreational laws of the Cannabis Act.
Not only are the possession and storage limitations different for ACMPR members, but the same goes for growing limitations. Since this program is centered around medical marijuana rather than recreational bud, someone with an ACMPR license is legally allowed to grow more than 4 plants – way more.
How Does It Work?
This article will give you a much clearer picture of how to start medical growing in Canada with an ACMPR license to grow. But let’s cover the basics. Just as you would suspect from a medical marijuana program, the very first step in becoming a member of the ACMPR is to receive a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional.
In order for the government to hand over a license to grow, you need to prove that you actually have a need for growing more than the recreational limit of 4 plants. Patients who suffer from chronic conditions have a good excuse for needing to cultivate more than 4 plants, but they still need to get proof from a doctor or nurse practitioner.
Once the prescription is written (it will be written for a certain amount of grams per day based on the medical condition), the next step is to apply. There’s an official ACMPR application that needs to be filled out, stating everything from your name to your intended growing location.
This paperwork can feel tedious, but the end result is entirely worth it for those who are looking for way more than 4 plants. Once the paperwork is done, the applicant sends it (along with the original copy of the medical marijuana RX) to the government for approval. And once approved, the 4-plant-per-household rule no longer applies.
Who Can Apply for the ACMPR?
Technically anyone resident of Canada can apply, but they have to be able to prove that their medical condition warrants the use of medical weed (an official prescription is proof enough). So if you’re Canadian and ready to grow more than 4 plants, now’s your chance.