The provincial government’s declaration that Manitobans would not be allowed to grow cannabis plants for recreational use is not a decision local advocate Neil Longbottom is letting go without a fight.
The cannabis enthusiast’s first round of stickers, featuring a cannabis leaf and a message “#LETUSGROW” and #”NOTACRIMINAL,” have arrived in the mail and will begin showing up throughout Brandon in the coming days.
This first bunch of stickers are being distributed by Growers n’ Smokers owner Rick Macl. The second round of a few hundred stickers will arrive within a few days and be distributed through not only Macl, but also others who support the cause.
Longbottom has also ordered T-shirts promoting the cause, which he intends on giving away.
It’s all a means of increasing dialogue around Manitobans’ inability to grow up to four cannabis plants at home, as the federal government has promised Canadians would be allowed to do.
A medicinal cannabis user, Longbottom, who uses cannabis to resolve a bladder issue, said his medical prescription calls for the purchase of approximately $900 per month of cannabis — an amount he’s unable to afford.
Rather than go without cannabis, he’d like to grow at home in order to bump the cost down to an affordable level.
While Longbottom could apply for a medical licence to grow, he said the annual application process is too complex and potentially costly in the event he is unable to get his general practitioner to sign off on it, which is frequently the case as a result of stigmas surrounding cannabis.
Even then, Longbottom said he might be declined on the grounds that his house is near a school.
Rather than advocate for a streamlined application process, he said he’d rather advocate that all Manitobans be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants.
If people can grow other plants —say, peppers —on their windowsill, and brew beer or wine at home, why not cannabis, Longbottom asked.
“If I had a rich person to bankroll me for the lawyer case, I’d be the first person planting, but I can’t see that,” he said.
Macl, whose sales of grow operation equipment have not been negatively impacted by Manitobans’ inability to grow plants at home, said that it’s a cause he’s eager to join Longbottom in promoting.
His business’s namesake Facebook page is currently promoting a change.org petition called “Allow citizens of Manitoba to cultivate marijuana in accordance to federal guidelines.”
“Back in the day, people thought it was insanity to put indoor plumbing in your house,” Macl said, adding that there were concerned about humidity issues. “What do they do? Put in a ceiling fan —that’s it.”