Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jun 2013
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 Times Colonist
Author: Louise Dickson


A B.C. Supreme Court justice has dismissed a Crown application asking 
for more time to make amendments to medical marijuana regulations.

Last year, Justice Robert Johnston struck down a section of Health 
Canada's Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. He ruled that the 
restriction to dried marijuana was unconstitutional because it 
breached Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Johnston's 
April 12, 2012, ruling meant that patients authorized to use medical 
marijuana could make cannabis-infused oils, sip it in their tea or 
bake it in their brownies.

Health Canada asked the court for one year to respond to the ruling. 
Johnston agreed, but said the suspension would not affect those 
authorized to use medical marijuana.

Johnston's decision Friday not to grant an extension means designated 
producers are now entitled to make derivatives, edibles and resin for 
their authorized patients, said Kirk Tousaw.

The defence lawyer led the constitutional challenge on behalf of Owen 
Smith, the head baker of the Cannabis Buyers' Club of Canada. Smith 
was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking for baking 
pot cookies and producing topical cannabis creams for a medical 
marijuana club in Victoria in 2009.

Tousaw argued the laws were unconstitutional and arbitrary and did 
not further the government's interest in protecting the health and 
safety of the public. Instead, they forced the critically and 
chronically ill to smoke medical marijuana, which was potentially harmful.

In court Friday, Tousaw argued that the government has taken no 
action in the past year to respond to Johnston's ruling.

"Their entire demeanour and response to court rulings over the last 
decade has been close to contemptuous," he said.

Johnston said there was little pretense the Crown's application was 
an attempt to preserve the status quo until the B.C. Court of Appeal 
hears the case on Oct. 17.

He said he would proceed on the basis that he made the right decision.

"The Court of Appeal will deal with this on Oct. 17. It is not 
possible to predict what they will do with it," he said.

Outside court, Gayle Quin and Ted Smith, proprietor of the Cannabis 
Buyers' Club of Canada, were elated.

"You don't get a lot of wins in this world," Smith said. "I've seen a 
lot of people suffer without this medicine. This decision here today 
will mean a lot to patients who use these derivatives."

The Crown could not comment on whether it would appeal Johnston's 
latest decision.
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