In what advocates are calling “a complete victory” for medical cannabis patients in Canada, a Federal Court judge decided to strike down federal regulations restricting the rights of medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis.
While the decision doesn’t effect Canada’s prohibition on the recreational use of cannabis, it does remove a restriction which the Court found to be unconstitutional and a violation of the charter rights of medical cannabis patients.
Back in 2013, Canada’s Conservative federal government introduced a set of regulations called the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. These laws required medical marijuana patients to buy cannabis from licensed producers, and prohibited them from growing their own cannabis at home.
In the constitutional challenge that was brought against the regulations, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, John Conroy, explained how the legislation robbed patients of affordable access to medicine.
Some cannabis patients found themselves with no other choice but to break but to break the law, he argued, either by continuing to grow their own or by purchasing on the black market.
Conroy noted that if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wanted to move quickly on this issue in particular, cabinet could simply issue an order-in-council that would remove marijuana from Schedule 2 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The court has given the Liberal government six months to adjust to the new system, with Judge Michael Phelan suspending the ruling he issues on Wednesday for half a year.
According to the lawyers who represented medical cannabis patients as plaintiffs in the challenge, some people are still not covered by the latest ruling.
There remain thousands of other medical users not covered by the original injunction, who will still have to wait six months to legally grow their own medical marijuana themselves.
John Conroy wants to fix these issues in the courtroom: “We will be heading back to court to fine-tune that injunction,” said Conroy on Wednesday afternoon in Vancouver.
Now, thousands of Canadians with who have the proper licenses can legally grow medical cannabis in their own homes.