“Lawmakers and enforcers are looking for guidance on how to react to an Ontario Superior Court decision quashing Canada’s marijuana laws.
On Monday, a St. Catharines judge ruled the federal medical marijuana program unconstitutional because patients are largely prevented from legally accessing the drugs they need. Justice Donald Taliano also struck down the country’s laws against possessing and producing cannabis, giving Ottawa three months to fix the program before marijuana is effectively legalized.
The government is now awaiting direction from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, said Tim Vail, spokesperson for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who is currently running for re-election in Nunavut.
“We are disappointed with this decision,” Vail said in an emailed statement. “The independent Public Prosecution Service has to decide whether to appeal this decision.
“While the courts have said that there must be reasonable access to marijuana for medical purposes, we believe that this must be done in a controlled fashion to ensure public safety.”
Vail added that the government is considering “longer-term measures” to reform the medical marijuana program.
The Public Prosecution Service is studying the judge’s decision and has 30 days to appeal the ruling which it is expected to do.
In the meantime, the Ontario Provincial Police will continue to enforce marijuana laws — even though they may cease to exist in less than 90 days.
“It does create a legal grey zone,” said OPP spokesman Sgt. Pierre Chamberland. “Until that grey zone becomes a black and white, then the legislation remains status quo, and our actions in regards to enforcing the law remain status quo.”…”
From the original story the above piece was a followup to, also by Jennifer Yang in the Star:
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….”