Another defeat for the Harper Conservatives at the Supreme Court today. This time, it was the regulations that Health Canada has set up to govern medical marijuana that the court determined were an undue infringement on the constitutional rights of Canadians to liberty and security.
The regulatory regime restricted patients to smoking dried cannabis only. Through research, though, the medical marijuana community has developed a number of different products such as edibles, ointments, salves, teas and tinctures to treat a wide range of medical conditions.
By restricting patients to dried cannabis, medical marijuana advocates argued, Health Canada was limiting the right of Canadians to access effective medical treatment. As well, anyone caught distributing or possessing these products could be charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act with trafficking and illegal possession.
Health Canada’s position wasn’t surprising. In its literature around medical marijuana, it’s very upfront about the fact it doesn’t believe marijuana offers legitimate medical benefits and that it only permits licensed use because it’s been mandated by previous court rulings. So it was more or less indifferent to the health concerns of Canadians who had found relief by using different cannabis products.
Today, in a case related to a Victoria man arrested for baking marijuana cookies in 2009, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld an earlier B.C. Supreme Court ruling that Health Canada’s regulations on dried cannabis were unconstitutional and that if Canadians have obtained medical clearance from their doctors to use cannabis they should be able to use it in the form that provides the most effective treatment for their condition.
You can read more in this CBC report.