Canadian marijuana laws are ruled unconstitutional — government has 90 days to fix them or pot becomes legal

From Jennifer Yang in today’s Toronto Star:

It's been a long and winding road..." Photo via Rebel Rebel Tumblr

“An Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled that the federal medical marijuana program is unconstitutional, giving the government three months to fix the problem before pot is effectively legalized.

In an April 11 ruling, Justice Donald Taliano found that doctors across the country have “massively boycotted” the medical marijuana program and largely refuse to sign off on forms giving sick people access to necessary medication.

As a result, legitimately sick people cannot access medical marijuana through appropriate means and must resort to illegal actions.

Doctors’ “overwhelming refusal to participate in the medicinal marijuana program completely undermines the effectiveness of the program,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

“The effect of this blind delegation is that seriously ill people who need marijuana to treat their symptoms are branded criminals simply because they are unable to overcome the barriers to legal access put in place by the legislative scheme.”

Taliano declared the program to be invalid, as well as the criminal laws prohibiting possession and production of cannabis. He suspended his ruling for three months, giving Ottawa until mid-July to fix the program or face the prospect of effectively legalizing possession and production of cannabis.

The judge’s decision comes in a criminal case involving Matthew Mernagh, 37, of St. Catharines who suffers from fibromyalgia, scoliosis, seizures and depression.

Marijuana is the most effective treatment of Mernagh’s pain. But despite years of effort, he has been unable to find a doctor to support his application for a medical marijuana licence.

Mernagh resorted to growing his own cannabis and was charged with producing the drug.

Taliano found doctors essentially act as gatekeepers to the medical marijuana program but lack the necessary knowledge to adequately give advice or recommend the drug. He also found that Health Canada has made “no real attempt to deal with this lack of knowledge.”

Taliano said the issue is Canada-wide….”

Get the whole story on thestar.ca

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Canadian marijuana laws are ruled unconstitutional — government has 90 days to fix them or pot becomes legal

  1. thebovine

    Hmmm, seems like there could be parallels here with raw milk!

  2. Pingback: The Province of Ontario’s appeal puts the spotlight back on raw milk rights | The Bovine

  3. Kurtis

    Many parallels in their fight and surprising more of the precedents have not been used in court considering the progress these people seem to be making concerning rights.

  4. thebovine

    Apparently this particular case is not up on Canlii yet for reference. But I think it will be a significant precedent vis a vis raw milk.

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