Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jun 2015
Source: Beacon Herald, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Authors: Hank Daniszewski and Kristy Brownlee
Page: A7
Referenced: Supreme Court Judgment (R. v. Smith):


Those entitled to marijuana for medical reasons can now have the drug 
in edible forms, such as pot brownies

Munch away, medical pot users.

The Supreme Court of Canada says you can now consume edible forms of 
the drug, such as pot brownies, cookies, infused cooking oils and 
teas, not just dried marijuana leaf to smoke.

Thursday's decision came a day after London's first specialized 
cannabis clinic opened.

The high court's ruling could open medical marijuana to a wider group 
of users who don't want to smoke or use a vaporizer to inhale the 
narcotic, said Ronan Levy, a lawyer and director of Canadian Cannabis 
Clinics, whose London operation opened this week.

Levy said the ruling on its own won't affect licensed medical 
marijuana production or prescriptions. Until federal regulations 
change, he said those businesses will only be allowed to supply dried 

"It's still a do-it-yourself enterprise. But it allows people the 
flexibility to use the medicine as they see fit," he said.

"They may fear going out in public to smoke or use a vaporizer. Now, 
they can consume it in ways that may be more discreet."

Federal law had limited licensed users to dried marijuana. Any other 
form could have led to criminal charges.

Owen Smith was charged with pot possession and trafficking while he 
was head of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada at his Victoria 
apartment in 2009.

Police seized cannabis cookies and jars of massage oil and lip balm 
laced with THC, the chemical that gives pot its psychological effects.

A B.C. judge acquitted Smith and the B.C. Court of Appeal also ruled 
in his favour, giving the federal government a year to change the law.

Smith argued the law violates the Charter of Rights and was 
unconstitutional for limiting the lawful possession of medical 
marijuana to just the dried variety.

The top court agreed. The decision, released Thursday, says the 
prohibition to dried forms "limits liberty and security" as defined 
in the Charter.

"The evidence amply supports the trial judge's conclusions that 
inhaling marijuana can present health risks and that it is less 
effective for some conditions than administration of cannabis 
derivatives," the decision says.

Any quick change to federal regulations looks unlikely after Health 
Minister Rona Ambrose said she's "outraged" by the ruling.

Ambrose said the judges have called marijuana a medicine, while 
Health Canada hasn't approved it.

"There's only one authority in Canada that has the authority and 
expertise to make a drug into a medicine and that's Health Canada," 
Ambrose said.

She made the comments after she announced more oversight for Canadian 
medical marijuana providers.

They must now send quarterly patient prescription information reports 
to provincial and territorial licensing bodies to prevent misuse.

The Toronto-based Canadian Cannabis Clinics is the only facility in 
London, on Wharcliffe Rd., solely focused on assessing patients and 
writing medical marijuana prescriptions, allowing it to order from a 
federal website of licensed producers.

A cannabis clinic that opened on Dundas St. E. last year closed 
quickly and abruptly.

Levy said the new London clinic will get most of its referrals from 
family doctors and is holding an information seminar in the city this 
week for medical professionals.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom