The Federal Court of Canada has struck down regulations requiring licensed medical marijuana users to buy from Ottawa-approved growers, giving people the green light to continue growing at home.
The ruling is suspended for six months, but the four B.C. residents who launched the court challenge had their growing licences protected under an earlier interim order. Thousands of people in B.C. and across Canada received licences to either grow pot themselves or designate someone else to do it, before the Conservative government attempted to restrict production to large commercial growers who sent it by mail.
With the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intent on legalizing recreational marijuana use, Kirk Tousaw, a lawyer for the four, says the latest ruling should “once and for all end the stigmatization and criminalization” for medical users and their providers.
“And in addition, all pending criminal cases against medical cannabis producers, patients, growers and dispensaries should be immediately terminated,” Tousaw told CTV Wednesday. “There is absolutely no reason in this day and age to continue to prosecute people for helping people improve their quality of life with medical cannabis.”
Federal Court Judge Michael Phelan ruled that preventing people from growing marijuana for medical purposes violates section seven of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees “the right to life, liberty and security of the person.”
The court challenge was brought by:
• Neil Allard, 61, of Nanaimo, a former counsellor for Veterans Affairs Canada until he was granted medical retirement in 1999 due to “chronic fatigue syndrome.” He started growing his own marijuana after finding he was “sensitive to pharmaceutical medication,” according to court documents.
• Tanya Beemish and David Hebert, a couple from Surrey aged 29 and 34. Beemish suffers from type one diabetes and gastroparesis, and smokes or vaporizes two to 10 grams of marijuana a day to relieve nausea, pain, lack of appetite and insomnia. Hebert received a Health Canada license to be her designated grower.
• Shawn Davey of Abbotsford, 39, suffered a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident and receives a federal disability pension. He held licences to grow for himself and as a designated grower for others, authorizing him to produce 122 plants indoors and store 5,490 grams at the site of production.