Pubdate: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 Source: Windsor Star (CN ON) Copyright: 2015 The Windsor Star Contact: http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/501 Author: Ian MacLeod Page: C6 HIGH COURT TRIES MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW OTTAWA - Canada's high court is contemplating whether it's a constitutional right to munch cookies, brownies and oils laced with medical marijuana. Federal regulations restrict authorized users of physician-prescribed cannabis to consuming only dried marijuana plants. Brewing pot in tea, baking it into a brownie or any form of consumption other than smoking the dried plant buds can trigger criminal trafficking and narcotics possession charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The question Friday before the Supreme Court of Canada, in its first foray into the medical marijuana debate, is whether the Health Canada regulation violated medical marijuana users' constitutional right to life, liberty and safety. That's what Owen Smith contends. Police in 2009 found more than 200 pot cookies and cannabis-infused olive oil and grapeseed oil in his Victoria apartment. The former head baker for the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana. At Smith's 2012 trial, lawyer Kirk Tousaw argued the restrictive regulation was unconstitutional and arbitrary, and did not further the government's interest in protecting public health and safety. Instead, it forces the critically and chronically ill to smoke medical marijuana, which is potentially harmful, he said. Even though Smith is not a medical marijuana user, a judge agreed. Smith was acquitted of the drug offences. The Crown appealed and lost. The majority decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled the government had no basis to assert that transforming dried marijuana into tea or baking oil put individuals at greater risk. It gave the government until August to draft new regulations to allow medicinal marijuana users to use products made from cannabis extract, such as creams, oils and brownies. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is now asking the Supreme Court to strike down that judgment, rendered last August. It also contends that since Smith is not a medical marijuana user, he should have no standing to challenge the constitutional validity of the regulation. The prosecution service declined to comment for this story. The government does not endorse the use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a physician. There's concern, too, of pot-laced cookies and other illicit treats being diverted to the black market, and of the difficulties police would encounter trying to determine whether a batch of cookies or brownies contained more dope than the patient was authorized to possess. Tousaw sees it differently. Patients who find more effective and potentially less harmful forms of cannabis have a right consume it the way they please, he said in an interview Thursday.