Pubdate: Thu, 05 Mar 2015
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.
Page: 12


Rules are needed for growing medical pot and not vegetables in homes 
because the plant is a controlled substance that's "highly 
divertable" to other uses, a health official told a Federal Court 
hearing in Vancouver on Wednesday.

The court is being asked to determine if the federal government's law 
governing licensed growers of medical marijuana is constitutional.

A group of users who have a doctor's OK to use pot for medical 
reasons is arguing the new law, implementation of which was delayed 
last year because of this challenge, will force them to buy from 
large commercial producers with federal licences instead of growing 
their own or having someone grow it for them.

Registered medical users under the new law are also to be limited to 
possessing 150 grams of pot, compared with a 30-day supply under the old rules.

Their lawyer, John Conroy, is arguing the new law deprives Canadians 
of their rights to life, liberty and security of persons guaranteed 
under Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The federal government has to prove under Section 1 of the Charter 
that the new law, called the Marijuana for Medical Purposes 
Regulation, reasonably limits those rights if the court determines 
Section 7 is violated.

Conroy told court the new law's set price of $5 a gram will make his 
clients' medicine prohibitively expensive and the law limits their 
choice of cannabis strains.

During cross-examination of Jeannine Ritchot, who used to work for 
Health Canada and is now a federal public health official, he said 
Health Canada's regulation is unconstitutional because it forces 
Canadians to choose between breaking the law by continuing to 
illegally grow their own or harming their health by going without the drug.

Court heard Health Canada was overwhelmed by the large number of 
users who obtained a doctor's permission to use the drug after Ottawa 
first allowed the still-illegal drug to be used for medical purposes.
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