Court Upholds Canada’s Medical Marijuana Laws

Feb 4, 2013

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld med­ical mar­i­juana pro­vi­sions that require those with seri­ous ill­nesses to obtain a physician’s approval before they can legally acquire cannabis to alle­vi­ate their pain. The 3–0 deci­sion over­turned a lower court deci­sion that had ear­lier struck down the laws as being imprac­ti­cal and dif­fi­cult to com­ply with. The appel­late judges ruled that the case under appeal had failed to estab­lish that patients at the heart of the case were sys­tem­at­i­cally unable to obtain med­ical mar­i­juana. “In the absence of admis­si­ble evi­dence as to whether they qual­i­fied for exemp­tions and the rea­sons for which their requests for dec­la­ra­tions were rejected, this court can­not accept that the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by these indi­vid­u­als ren­der the entire Mar­i­juana Med­ical Access Reg­u­la­tions régime uncon­sti­tu­tional,” it said. The rul­ing was a major dis­ap­point­ment to civil lib­er­tar­i­ans and advo­cates for HIV-AIDS patients, who had argued that it is vir­tu­ally impos­si­ble to obtain the med­ical approval the law demands. “Allow­ing the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions to stand unchanged will leave many peo­ple with seri­ous health con­di­tions with­out effec­tive access to legal autho­riza­tion to use cannabis as med­i­cine, and this means they are exposed to the risk of crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion,” said Richard Elliott, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Cana­dian HIV/AIDS Legal Net­work. “Peo­ple shouldn’t have to risk going to prison in order to get the med­i­cine they need,” he said. Med­ical mar­i­juana has proved help­ful in reduc­ing appetite loss, nau­sea, anx­i­ety and depres­sion asso­ci­ated with some med­ical con­di­tions. Cre­ated in 2001, the reg­u­la­tory scheme was intended to help those who need cannabis for med­ical pur­poses to avoid crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion for pro­duc­tion or pos­ses­sion of the drug. The lit­i­gant at the cen­tre of the case, Matthew Mer­nagh, was charged in 2008 with pro­duc­ing mar­i­huana ille­gally.  At the out­set of his trial, he applied for a dec­la­ra­tion that the law vio­lated his con­sti­tu­tional right to life, lib­erty and secu­rity. Mr.  Mer­nagh, who suf­fers from fibromyal­gia, sco­l­io­sis, epilepsy and depres­sion, claimed that he was unable to obtain a med­ical mar­i­juana exemp­tion because no physi­cian was will­ing to sign his med­ical dec­la­ra­tion. His lawyer also argued that doc­tors have refused en masse to co-operate with the med­ical mar­i­juana régime. How­ever, the court major­ity con­cluded today that Mr.  Mer­nagh and sev­eral inter­ven­ers in the case were unable to prove that access to the med­ical exemp­tion scheme was illu­sory. “Fur­ther, the evi­dence in this case fails to prove that the vast major­ity of physi­cians in Canada refuse to par­tic­i­pate in the MMAR scheme,” the court major­ity said. Mr.  Elliott crit­i­cized the med­ical régime for leav­ing many of those afflicted with seri­ous ill­ness in limbo. “In prac­tice, the require­ments of the reg­u­la­tions are often unwork­able, mean­ing peo­ple suf­fer­ing with seri­ous health con­di­tions are unable to over­come the hur­dles cur­rently in place,” he said in a release.  “As a result, they are treated as crim­i­nals under the Con­trolled Drugs and Sub­stances Act , which makes it a crime to pro­duce or pos­sess cannabis with­out autho­riza­tion.” Source: Globe and Mail (Canada) Copy­right: 2013 The Globe and Mail Com­pany Con­tact: letters@​globeandmail.​com Web­site: http://​www​.the​globe​and​mail​.com/ Author: Kirk Makin

e47fd61547ijuana.jpg 150x99 Court Upholds Canada’s Medical Marijuana Laws

Orig­i­nal post:
Court Upholds Canada’s Med­ical Mar­i­juana Laws

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