Michael Nemanic – The Municipal Regulation of Non-Commercial Cannabis
This essay submits that municipalities should amend existing licensure by-laws to regulate
the non-commercial cultivation of recreational cannabis in a responsible and accountable
manner. The Introduction reviews the legislative history of the federal Cannabis Act and the
Ontario’s Cannabis Act, 2017 to outline the competing policies of Canadian cannabis legalization.
Part I characterizes the constitutional right that individuals have to reasonably access medical
cannabis and questions whether the fictional distinction between medical and recreational is
tenable. Part II reviews the municipal power to prohibit individuals from carrying on activities
related to traditional municipal spheres of jurisdiction and submits that a complete prohibition
with respect to the non-commercial cultivation of recreational cannabis would likely be ultra vires
municipal jurisdiction. Part III explains the municipal power to charge individuals levies in the
nature of licence fees and taxes and concludes that municipalities should only charge costrecovery
levies necessary to fund administratively simple licensure schemes. The Conclusion
outlines the fiduciary duties of municipal councillors and submits that municipalities should
update their respective codes of conduct to reduce the potential for conflicts of interest.