The Federal Court has ruled patients who are allowed to use marijuana for medicinal purposes are allowed to grow their own pot.
In a ruling handed down today in Vancouver, the court has ruled the former Conservative government’s Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations violates the Charter.
The government has 6 months to re-write the rules.
This ruling comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government vows to legalize marijuana in general, although the framework for that has not been revealed.
The Federal Government has 30 days to appeal
Lawyers who convinced the Federal Court to overturn the former Conservative government’s medicinal marijuana regulations are hoping the Trudeau government doesn’t waste time with an appeal.
John Conroy headed up the victorious legal team.
He says the feds have 30 days to appeal the decision which found the ban on people growing their own pot for medicinal purposes unconstitutional.
“Hopefully they’ll see that pursuing an appeal is not what they should do, and they should immediately get to work trying to make sure we have in place a reasonable process for patients to continue to produce, or have true caregivers stand in their place and produce for them.”
Conroy and his team represented patients who argued they couldn’t afford to buy medicinal pot from licensed producers, who also didn’t carry the exact strains they needed for maximum health benefits.
Expert witnesses called unreliable
Today’s decision was a blow to expert witnesses for the federal government, including one close to home.
The ruling completely dismissed the testimony of Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis and RCMP Corporal Shane Holmquist – a supervisor on the federal gang marijuana enforcement team…calling the expert opinion unreliable and biased.
Both argued home grow operations were not safe…
Garis admits, it’s not what he wanted to hear.
“I can say I’m disappointed with it. I think our evidence was overwhelming. We just remain disappointed.”
While Garis accepts most of the stats used were for grow ops linked to organized crime, he says at least 300 were from licensed growers…and insists the safety concerns are the same.
Medical marijuana users support growing their own medicine.
“I think it’s great…I see it as a good thing…so it’s good thing altogether, so.”
A man who relies on medical marijuana to get through life after a horrific motorcycle accident says he is happy with today’s Federal Court ruling, that allows him to grow pot for his own use.
Shawn Davey is one of the plaintiffs in the case, that has now resulted in the former Conservative government’s medical marijuana rules being tossed out.
Davey spent more than three months in a coma after being hit by a truck, and now uses 2 pounds of marijuana a month.
“I was prescribed 6-thousand dollars a month in medications, I went off, and marijuana has helped me 110%, there’s nothing I would take any other.”
The federal government has 30 days to appeal the ruling, or 6 months to fix the law that forced medical pot users to buy from licensed growers.
While medical marijuana users are declaring victory, less enthusiasm from B.C. landlords, after the federal court ruled users should have the constitutional right to grow their own weed.
CEO of LandLord BC, David Hutniak, says it will pose some challenges.
“The odour from marijuana, the smoking of it in particular is one of the more common complaints we get from tenants. So if we are in a position to allow the growing of it in our rental properties, it’s just going to add to that issue.”
He says he’d like prospective tenants to reveal if they have personal production licenses and intend to grow their own pot.
“Well my gut reaction is yes, that they should. But by the same token, we are not allowed to discriminate against prospective tenants. Whether they disclose it or not, I’m not sure that it would really change how we would treat the individuals.”
But at the same time he says landlords aren’t allowed to discriminate.
-With files from Shelby Thom