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Why the moaning over home-grown is overblown.

It’s pretty undeniable that, all things considered, the country-wide legalization of recreational cannabis is a net positive. However, the rushed deliberations and harsh rhetoric surrounding legalization in Canada have generated some well-deserved trepidation. Some have compared legalization to “criminalization 2.0,” with zero-tolerance measures actually increasing the number of cannabis-related offences in Canadian law.

Cannabis grows naturally and has for at least 10,000 years. It’s a hardy crop that requires little water, that improves soil quality, and that has a host of medicinal and civil uses. In these 10,000 years, cannabis has been grown widely for food, fiber, and phytoceuticals; although it’s come to be associated with organized crime, this basic activity sustained many human societies from the beginning of recorded history until World War II!

And yet, with legalization looming, at least two provinces have committed themselves to denying this legacy to Canadians. Why? Let’s examine five key arguments for and against home-grown cannabis.

1) Grow-ops are Dangerous: Unregulated grow operations, especially grow operations using high-pressure lighting, can be risky. However, these risks are associated with large-scale grow operations, which the 4-plant limit falls well short of; 4 plants may be adequately served by simple LED lighting and requires little in the way of complicated hardware. More likely perhaps, people will turn to the cheapest and safest lighting of all—the sun.

2) At Home Beer and Wine: Legislation is based on precedent, and bill C-45 is no exception. Much of the infrastructure laid out by C-45 models the system of alcohol regulation. If adults can legally produce beer and wine in their own homes, with children present, and with the accepted risks to person and property that homebrewing entails, it would be ludicrous to deny the same right to cannabis consumers. As automated “grow-boxes” and at home cultivation kits become more widespread, there’s no question that the personal production of cannabis will become safer than home-brewing.

3) Toxicity to Animals and Children: This is one of the most common refrains in the fight against home growing— think of the kids! Think of the cats! In fact, at home cannabis kits would be significantly less dangerous than pre-prepared cannabis. Cannabis takes weeks to cure after it's done growing and must be heated to cause a high. Fido, chomping on your plant, won’t end up in emergency veterinary care; he’ll just have more greens in his diet.

4) The numbers: Even with an automated grow system, growing at home can be extraordinarily labour intensive, which will discourage a large number of people from trying their hand at the craft. Home-grown cannabis is untested and less consistent, and home-growers risk dumping their resources down the drain if they lose their crop. As we well know, most people don’t dip down to their basement brewery for a quick beer, they head to the liquor store! Having a consistent, easily accessible and dependable product is more important to the majority of consumers.

5) Liberty: It would be exploitive for the government to legalize a hardy, resilient crop and then provide only expensive, government-taxed cannabis, banning all personal cultivation. If free market competition and personal liberty are that important regarding alcohol consumption, that should absolutely apply, as a precedent, to cannabis.

  Posted: Thursday, July 5th, 4:32pm 5 months ago

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