Windsor medical marijuana user and pot advocate Jon Liedtke JASON KRYK / WINDSOR STAR

Windsor Star: Grow your own: Windsor medical marijuana users react to federal changes to production rules

[Windsor Star – Dalson Chen] Canadians with medical marijuana prescriptions will soon be legally able to grow their own medicine.

Health Canada announced on Thursday that the new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations — which come into effect Aug. 24 — will allow people authorized to use medical marijuana to “produce a limited amount of cannabis for their own medical purposes, or designate someone to produce it for them.”

The new rules replace Canada’s old Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, and effectively open the door for every medical marijuana prescription holder in the country to cultivate cannabis plants at home.

“That’s a huge thing,” said Jon Liedtke, a medical marijuana user and proprietor of downtown Windsor’s Higher Limits cannabis vapour lounge. “What we’re going to see is a proliferation of home-grown medical marijuana.”

Regarding what the government considers “a limited amount” of cannabis, Liedtke said the formula — as he understands it — works out to two outdoor plants or five indoor plants for individuals who have been prescribed one gram of medical marijuana per day.

“All it takes is time and know-how,” Liedtke said. “We live in Windsor and Essex County — a region that’s known for agricultural bounty.”

Liedtke also believes Thursday’s announcement is a good sign of progress toward fulfilment of the Liberal government’s promise to legalize marijuana in Canada.

On April 20, Health Canada told the United Nations that federal marijuana legislation will be introduced by spring 2017.

“Anytime the government brings forward expanded access to marijuana, it’s a very positive thing,” Liedtke said. “This is the strongest affirmation we’ve seen yet from any Canadian government regarding medical marijuana access.”

While the ability to grow at home is welcome news for users, it might be a different story for the financial interests of the medical marijuana production industry.

But Liedtke doesn’t think that licensed large-scale marijuana producers need to worry. “People are allowed to grow up to 40 kilograms of tobacco at their own homes. Most people don’t. You’re allowed to brew your own beer at home. Most people don’t.”

“Even people who do home-brew — they still buy cases of beer … The majority of (medical marijuana users) are going to want the convenience and the accessibility of just purchasing, like they do with every other product in their lives.”

That said, Liedtke does anticipate the price of medical marijuana from licensed producers will decrease dramatically as a result of the new rules — which he considers a good thing.

“Overall, it means more affordable medical marijuana, and a more consistent supply of medical marijuana.”