Ontario Court Overturns Canada's Marijuana Law [FEATURE]

An Ontario Superior Court judge Tuesday threw out the sections of Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that bar marijuana possession and cultivation. The ruling came in the case of R. v. Mernagh, in which a medical marijuana patient argued that Health Canada's Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) were so burdensome that the effectively barred patients from gaining legal access to marijuana.

Ontario marijuana grow (RCMP)
Matt Mernagh is a medical marijuana patient and activist who used the herb to relieve the symptoms of scoliosis, seizures, and fibryomyalgia. Mernagh was unable to find a doctor willing to sign the paperwork to allow him to become a legal patient under the MMAR, and was raided and arrested for growing his own plants without a license.

In the ruling, Justice Donald Taliano gave the government 90 days to come up with a solution in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The government could appeal the decision. If the government does not act within 90 days, marijuana will be legal across the province of Ontario, and the Ontario precedent could be considered by courts in other provinces.

The MMAR and the sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that prohibit marijuana possession and cultivation are "constitutionally invalid and of no force and effect," Taliano found.

There is some irony in the decision. A decade ago, in R. v. Parker, the Ontario Court of Appeals struck down Canada's marijuana laws because they failed to provide access for medical marijuana patients. The MMAR was ultimately the Canadian government's response, but now the Ontario court has held it to be to be part of the problem.

"The road to marihuana approval is a virtual obstacle course which few patients can navigate," Taliano wrote in the opinion. "Rather than providing access to medicinal marihuana, the MMAR raise so many barriers to access that the defense is meaningless and illusory for most patients... Seriously ill persons who need marihuana to treat their symptoms are forced to choose between their health and their liberty. If they choose their health, they must go to significant lengths to obtain the marihuana they need, including lengthy trips to purchase the drug, resort to the black market, and living with the constant stress that at any time they could be subject to criminal prosecution. These already sick individuals must further cope with the added stress of the stigma and social rejection of friends, family and members of the public who see them as criminals. This is not to mention the real fear of losing one's doctor simply by inquiring about the drug and damage to the patient-doctor relationship."

Judge Taliano also found that Canadian physicians' reluctance to okay medical marijuana use made the MMAR, under which patients require a doctor's approval, unworkable. Their "overwhelming refusal to participate in the medicinal marijuana program completely undermines the effectiveness of the program," Taliano noted. "The requirement for a medical doctor's declaration has rendered the MMAR unconstitutional," he concluded.

"Complaints about the doctor-as-gatekeeper role, from patients and physicians, have been a constant feature of this flawed system," said Kirk Tousaw, a British Columbia attorney and head of the pro-legalization Beyond Prohibition Foundation. "This decision represents a huge step forward for critically and chronically ill Canadians that want to access this safe and effective medicine without being turned into criminals for doing so."

"I know how hard it has been to find a supportive physician," said Jacob Hunter, policy director for the foundation and a medical marijuana patient. "There are a million medical cannabis consumers in Canada and, in ten years, less than 10,000 have been able to become legal. That just isn't right."

The Ontario ruling also excited other legalizing lawyers. "It's significant because it's a Superior Court ruling which has binding effect across the province," marijuana lawyer and legalization advocate Alan Young told the Toronto Star. "By enacting a dysfunctional medical program the government now has to pay the high cost of losing the constitutional authority to criminalize marijuana."

The real test, Young said, will be what the Ontario Court of Appeal decides, assuming that the government does appeal the decision. "If the government is not successful on appeal, they are going to be caught between a rock and a hard place because they don't have an alternative program in mind," he said. "They don't have a plan B. They're in trouble."

marijuana eradication helicopter, Ontario (RCMP)
Plaintiff Mernagh was pleased as punch, he told Cannabis Culture magazine in a Tuesday night interview. "It definitely hasn't sunk in yet," Mernagh said. "I got everything I believed I could get. We put a lot into this case. [Lawyer] Paul Lewin and I worked literally from Labor Day till the day we went into court. I'm still really overwhelmed when I think about it. It's groundbreaking."

Now, the Canadian federal government has 90 days to either file an appeal, which is almost certain, or to come up with a workable legislative model that allows patients access to marijuana in line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Or not.

"Who knows?" speculated Tousaw, "The government could always choose not to re-legislate, as it did with the abortions laws after the Morgentaler decision [striking down Canada's abortion laws], and finally put an end to the harms being caused by marijuana prohibition."

Who knows, indeed? Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government are avowed foes of marijuana law reform. But Canadian voters go to the polls May 2 to elect a new national government, and by the time election day is over, Canada could once again be led by the Liberals. They failed to even decriminalize marijuana the last time they were in power, but perhaps they would be willing to think again in 2011.

ON
Canada
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Tick...Tick....Tick

The time has come to deal with facts. The reality of marijuana not causing overdoses and fatalities can not be overstated. People of good sense must sway the powers that be to understand that the only responsible adults hurt by marijuana are the ones caught by the unjust laws that made marijuana illegal in the first place. Please understand that I do not advocate impaired driving, working, or any other activity that a reasonable individual would do with a clear head. My point is, that at a moment of leisure, responsible adults have an opportunity to partake. 

Q:

Is that only good for Ontario or all of Canada?

You GO Canada!Big Island''s

You GO Canada!

Big Island''s got your back!!!

But we're still in a police

But we're still in a police state here in Hawaii...our Bills are dieing.

I met mernagh and he's a real

I met mernagh and he's a real nice kindhearted dude. It is about time these rediculous laws are rectified. I hope it extends beyond medicinal marijuana and becomes legal for everyone. Just think, the government allows alcohol, anti depressants, even salvia (which makes you craaazzzyyyyy), yet smoking a harmless plant can turn you into a criminal, limiting all sorts of freedom, such as entry into the states, it's just silly and out dated. Best of luck

Canada

Canada has made a lot of progress since this was posted! Congrats Canadians.

Metforin For Pets JeaHofe

Propecia Liver Saw Palmetto Order Now Clobetasol Cash Delivery cialis 5 mg best price usa Clomid Coiffure D Action Kamagra United Kingdom

Viagra No Prescription Online Sale JeaHofe

Zithromax India Dog Cephalexin Reactions viagra Clomid Au Bout Combien Temps Prise De Sang Vitomanhills

Amoxicillin Wheat Allergy EllSavy

Will Propecia Work Without Prescription buy generic cialis online Purchase Isotretinoin Price In Internet

Amoxicillin Wheat Allergy EllSavy

Will Propecia Work Without Prescription buy generic cialis online Purchase Isotretinoin Price In Internet

Amoxicillin Wheat Allergy EllSavy

Will Propecia Work Without Prescription buy generic cialis online Purchase Isotretinoin Price In Internet

Baclofene Pharmacodynamie JeaHofe

Moyens De Durer Plus Longtemps Priligy Generika Kaufen viagra online pharmacy Secure Ordering Provera Drugs

Acheter Du Propecia Internet EllSavy

Cheapeast Bentyl Direct Worldwide With Free Shipping Acheter Levitra Par Internet tadalafil cialis from india Discount Cephalexin 500 Mg Order Doxycycline Online Australia Priligy Discount

Smaway

Colcrys 0.6 Mg Tablet EllSavy

Cialis Ou Levitra Fluoxetine Us Pharmacy Orlistat Medication cialis 5mg Mexico Online Pharmacy

Colcrys 0.6 Mg Tablet EllSavy

Cialis Ou Levitra Fluoxetine Us Pharmacy Orlistat Medication cialis 5mg Mexico Online Pharmacy

Cialis En Hipertensos JeaHofe

Finasteride Work Does Propecia Usos Del Propecia Propecia Cost Buy cialis cheapest online prices Levitra Zerkauen Cialis Canadian Pharmacy Cephalexin With No Presciption

Cialis En Hipertensos JeaHofe

Finasteride Work Does Propecia Usos Del Propecia Propecia Cost Buy cialis cheapest online prices Levitra Zerkauen Cialis Canadian Pharmacy Cephalexin With No Presciption

Cialis En Hipertensos JeaHofe

Finasteride Work Does Propecia Usos Del Propecia Propecia Cost Buy cialis cheapest online prices Levitra Zerkauen Cialis Canadian Pharmacy Cephalexin With No Presciption

Vt Logistics Singapore Viagra EllSavy

A Vendre Clomid En Ligne viagra online Authentic Viagra Pfizer Brand Amoxicillin Without Presciption

Vt Logistics Singapore Viagra EllSavy

A Vendre Clomid En Ligne viagra online Authentic Viagra Pfizer Brand Amoxicillin Without Presciption

Vt Logistics Singapore Viagra EllSavy

A Vendre Clomid En Ligne viagra online Authentic Viagra Pfizer Brand Amoxicillin Without Presciption

Finasteride Acutane JeaHofe

Propecia Donna Cialis Quel Dosage viagra Singapore Sildenafil Citrate Tablets Different Types Of Viagra Como Conseguir Viagra En Madrid

Finasteride Acutane JeaHofe

Propecia Donna Cialis Quel Dosage viagra Singapore Sildenafil Citrate Tablets Different Types Of Viagra Como Conseguir Viagra En Madrid

Finasteride Acutane JeaHofe

Propecia Donna Cialis Quel Dosage viagra Singapore Sildenafil Citrate Tablets Different Types Of Viagra Como Conseguir Viagra En Madrid

Amoxicillin Sell EllSavy

Generic Bentyl Muscle Spasms Cod Accepted Medication Store Generic Overseas Viagra Canadian Drug Of Greenfeild propecia prostata hiperplasia prostatica benigna Moyens Eprouves Pour Durer Plus Longtemps Au Lit Kamagra Kaufen Ohne Kreditkarte Buy Prevacid Solutab

What Is Best Ed Pill EllSavy

Generic Zithromax Azithromycin generic viagra buy accutane in canada

What Is Best Ed Pill EllSavy

Generic Zithromax Azithromycin generic viagra buy accutane in canada

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School