Illegal Cannabis Growers Beware: BC’s New Rule Strikes!

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Illegal Cannabis Growers Beware: BC’s New Rule Strikes!

New Rules for Civil Forfeiture of Property for Illegal Cannabis Growers in BC

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The BC Government is set to implement new tools that will enable it to use civil forfeiture rules against illegal cannabis growers. The Civil Forfeiture Amendment Act, 2023 (Bill 21) will allow the government to begin legal proceedings against properties connected to illegal cannabis grow operations.

What is the Civil Forfeiture Act?

The BC Civil Forfeiture Act is a law that enables the government, through the director of civil forfeiture, to begin legal proceedings against properties linked to unlawful activities. The government is allowed to seize properties such as houses, vehicles, and money, which they believe were obtained through illegal means.

The Proposed Amendment

The proposed amendment to the Civil Forfeiture Act will apply to properties associated with a “dwelling house” and will target those who exceed the legal number of cannabis plants permitted to be grown on a property. The amendment is intended to address the issue of illegal commercial growers.

How Many Cannabis Plants Are Allowed on a Property?

Federal and provincial rules allow up to four cannabis plants to be grown on a property where people reside. For a “dwelling house,” any property that has more than five times the legal number of plants would be considered for forfeiture.

Personal and Designated Production

Federal regulations also allow for personal and designated production of cannabis. Any cannabis plants found to exceed five times the number of plants allowed under a medical authorization would also be considered for forfeiture.

Targeting Large-Scale Growers

The average daily amount authorized by healthcare practitioners for individuals registered with Health Canada for personal or designated production was over 40 grams per day as of March 2022. The government sees this as an example of abuse of the medical program and is targeting growers who significantly exceed their licensed limits.

What About First Nations’ Lands?

The amendment will not apply to property on federally-held First Nations’ lands, but if law enforcement seizes property from First Nations land that is no longer on First Nation land, such as a vehicle or a trailer used to grow or sell cannabis, it could be subject to forfeiture.

Separation from Property Seizure Laws

It is essential to note that civil forfeiture laws are separate from property seizure laws, which allow law enforcement to seize property.

Conclusion

The Civil Forfeiture Amendment Act, 2023 will give the BC Government more tools to tackle illegal cannabis growing in the province. The new rule change will enable legal proceedings against properties connected to illegal cannabis grow operations. The amendment aims to target large-scale growers who significantly exceed their licensed limits, particularly in cases where cannabis is grown for commercial purposes.

FAQs

  1. What is the Civil Forfeiture Act?
  • The BC Civil Forfeiture Act is a law that enables the government to begin legal proceedings against properties linked to unlawful activities.
  1. What is the proposed amendment to the Civil Forfeiture Act?
  • The proposed amendment will allow the government to target properties associated with a “dwelling house” and those who exceed the legal number of cannabis plants permitted to be grown on a property.
  1. How many cannabis plants are allowed on a property?
  • Federal and provincial rules allow up to four cannabis plants to be grown on a property where people reside.
  1. What is personal and designated production of cannabis?
  • Federal regulations allow for personal and designated production of cannabis.
  1. Will the amendment apply to First Nations’ lands?
  • The amendment will not apply to property on federally-held First Nations’ lands, but some properties that are no longer on First Nation land could be subject to forfeiture.
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