A B.C. court ruling gives the government one year to revise medical marijuana laws.
On Thursday, B.C.’s highest court ruled that the government’s ban on marijuana products violates the constitution by restricting access to non-smoked forms of medical marijuana.
“The provision is arbitrary and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society,” wrote the court in its decision.“The provision is arbitrary and cannot be justified”The ruling gives the government a year to revise the law to allow patients access to marijuana-based foods and extracts.
While medical marijuana has been legal since 2001, federal law only permits the sale and production of dried marijuana. However, this rule was challenged in 2009 when a B.C. resident was charged with trafficking marijuana cookies.
Owen Smith was caught baking more than 200 cookies for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, one of many medical marijuana dispensaries that operate in B.C. without government oversight.
While technically illegal, local police have allowed dispensaries to operate due to the difficulty of accessing medical marijuana under the federal program.
Smith was acquitted in 2012 when the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the ban on marijuana products was overly strict and unconstitutional.
The latest ruling came after the government brought the case to the B.C. Court of Appeal for retrial.
But questions remain about how the ruling might impact Health Canada’s current medical marijuana regulations (MMPR), which came into effect April 1. While marijuana products are not allowed under the MMPR, the Smith case involved an older set of rules (MMAR) that have since been repealed.
Health Minister Rona Ambrose’s office said on Thursday that it was “reviewing the decision in detail and considering our options.”[CBC] [StarPhoenix]