Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jun 2015
Source: St. Thomas Times-Journal (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Sun Media
Authors: Hank Daniszewski and Kristy Brownlee
Page: 17
Referenced: (R. v. Smith):


Munch away, medical pot users.

The Supreme Court of Canada says you can now consume edible forms of
the drug, such as pot brownies or cookies, 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 lead to criminal charges.

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