Pubdate: Thu, 13 Mar 2003
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Shannon Kari, CanWest News Service
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: (Parker, Terry)


TORONTO -- An Ontario Court of Appeal judge suggested yesterday the federal 
government has a "weak" case in its appeal of a Superior Court ruling that 
the medical marijuana regulations enacted by Health Canada are 

During a court hearing to determine a number of procedural issues connected 
to the appeal, Justice Michael Moldaver also scolded federal authorities 
for apparent stalling tactics.

Superior Court Justice Sidney Lederman gave Health Canada until July to 
come up with a plan to provide legal marijuana to people with medical 
exemptions that allow them to possess the drug.

The judge sharply criticized the government for requiring individuals with 
medical marijuana exemptions "to consort with criminals to access their 
constitutional rights."

Government lawyer Chris Leafloor asked for an adjournment on the motion to 
stay the Superior Court decision and requested more time to prepare 
arguments for the appeal itself. "This is a big, complicated appeal," Mr. 
Leafloor said.

"It may be that this isn't so complicated," Judge Moldaver responded. "A 
scheme that requires people to go out and buy their medicine illegally is 
not something that I think any government would countenance."

"This is a very weak appeal," Judge Moldaver said at another point in the 

The judge asked Mr. Leafloor to explain Health Canada's position about 
providing marijuana to several chronically ill people who successfully 
challenged the government regulations. "There are certain people here who 
want an answer. When are they going to get their marijuana?" he asked.

"It is not simple. There are various obstacles," said Mr. Leafloor.

Judge Moldaver agreed to adjourn the legal argument about whether to stay 
the Superior Court ruling until March 31.

The judge made the ruling conditional on Health Canada granting an 
exemption to Terrance Parker to possess marijuana, at least until March 31.

Mr. Parker, an epileptic, successfully challenged the blanket prohibition 
on marijuana possession in a ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal. That 
decision led to the new medical marijuana regulations that were ruled 
unconstitutional by Judge Lederman.
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