Pubdate: Wed, 09 Mar 2016
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Sun Media
Author: Scott Buchanan
Note: Scott Buchanan is an associate at the law firm of Cobb & Jones 
LLP. For more articles, visit the Library Page at
Page: A4


Most people are aware that the Federal Liberal Party campaigned on 
the promise to legalize marijuana. When this will actually happen is 
anyone's guess. At the same time, there are regulations in place to 
allow people with a medical need for marijuana to have access. 
Currently, only people with a medical purpose can have access to 
legal marijuana. The large regulatory problem that these patients 
have faced is: "How do they get marijuana?"

In 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that making it illegal to 
have or grow marijuana was a violation of a patient's charter rights. 
The court had to rule that without an exception for a person with a 
medical need for marijuana, the law that made possession of marijuana 
illegal was invalid. At the time the court suspended the declaration 
of invalidity for twelve months so that the Federal Government could 
create a new law to fix the issue.

In 2001 the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations ("MMAR") took 
effect. It created a system in which patients could get marijuana 
from three sources: they could grow it themselves, they could get it 
from a designated grower, or they could get it from Health Canada. 
Eventually Health Canada phased out the third source putting its 
marijuana to use for research purposes. All growers had to receive a 
license from Health Canada which limited how much they could grow and 
where they could grow the marijuana.

In 2014, a new set of regulations was set to replace the MMAR. The 
Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations ("MMPR") were created to 
limit the production of marijuana. Under these regulations a patient 
could only obtain dried marijuana from an authorized producer.

As a result, a constitutional challenge was brought to the Federal 
Court. In 2014 the court granted an injunction for many personal 
growers and designated growers who had licenses under the MMAR until 
it decided whether the MMPR was constitutional. The Federal Court 
reached a decision on February 24, 2016 finding the regulation to be 
unconstitutional for being arbitrary and overbroad.

This has left the rules around growing marijuana in limbo for the 
time being. Declaring the regulation invalid does not suddenly make 
marijuana legal. Marijuana would remain illegal under the Controlled 
Drugs and Substances Act. There has to be replacement legislation. So 
the court has suspended the declaration of invalidity.

Canada has six months to come up with a regulatory scheme to ensure 
that people with prescriptions can access their marijuana. In the 
meantime, the people who were able to produce by the previous 
regulation and injunction will likely still exempted from the law. If 
you aren't sure if you are exempted, you should talk to a lawyer.
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