Ontario Judge;Reform the Cannabis Laws or Canada’s dope laws go up in smoke

Posted on: December 7th, 2011 by

On April 10th/11 the Ontario Supreme Court was given 1 year on appeal to change Medical Marijuana access laws. The year is up April 9th 2012.

TORONTO, Canada — Pot lovers are dreaming of July 10, the day Canada’s dope laws go up in smoke.
An Ontario judge has struck down key aspects of Canada’s marijuana laws, triggering a 90-day countdown when growing, possessing or smoking pot will become legal.
The April 11 court ruling gives the federal government three months to either reform the laws or appeal the ruling to a higher court.
At issue is a 2001 law that allows seriously ill Canadians to access marijuana for medicinal purposes. But Justice Donald Taliano found that the vast majority of doctors refuse to prescribe the drug. Patients are therefore forced to break the law, either by growing their own or buying it on the black market.
“Seriously ill persons who need marihuana to treat their symptoms are forced to choose between their health and their liberty,” Taliano, of the Ontario Superior Court, wrote in his ruling.
“If they choose their health, they must go to significant lengths to obtain the marihuana they need, including lengthy trips to purchase the drug, resort to the black market and living with the constant stress that at any time they could be subject to criminal prosecution,” the judge added.
These barriers to legal access, Taliano ruled, violate the constitutional right of seriously ill people to use marijuana if it helps relieve their symptoms. He therefore struck down the 2001 Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.
He also struck down sections of another law that prohibit the possession or growing of marijuana, since they could be used to prosecute patients forced to break the law to relieve their symptoms. The result is that anyone — whether seriously ill or not — will be free to smoke and grow pot in 90 days, which is the amount of time Taliano gave the government to fix the laws.
The landmark ruling resulted from an action brought by Matthew Mernagh, 37, who lives in the southern Ontario town of St. Catharines. He suffers from fibromyalgia, scoliosis, seizures and depression.

“He lives with constant pain,” Taliano wrote in his ruling. “Prescription medications have failed to provide adequate relief for his condition, and in many ways, they create additional problems. Marihuana, used medicinally, eases his symptoms and allows him to function.”
Earlier court rulings gave Canadians like Mernagh the constitutional right to medicinal marijuana and forced the federal government to pass the 2001 law. It requires Mernagh and others to obtain a government licence to legally buy or grow dope for medicinal purposes. To get the licence, patients need a doctor to sign an application form.
But associations representing Canadian doctors have for years insisted that their members don’t want to be “gatekeepers” for an unproven and untested drug that could leave them open to lawsuits if prescribed. Mernagh testified he spent years trying to find a doctor who would sign his form, only to be rejected every time.
The court also heard from a patient in British Columbia, who described being rejected by 37 doctors, and another from Alberta, who was refused by 26 doctors.
Unable to obtain a doctor’s consent for a licence, Mernagh eventually decided to grow his own marijuana, and was promptly charged by police. That’s when he launched his court challenge.
The judge placed the blamed squarely on the shoulders of the federal government, criticizing it for setting up a program that allowed doctors to block a patient’s right to marijuana.
An alternative, Taliano argued, is to allow other health practitioners, such as naturopaths or herbalists, to sign the application for medicinal marijuana. Another option is to create a national registry with the names of doctors who know about the medicinal effects of marijuana and are willing to sign the forms.
Health Canada, the government department that administers the program, told the court that 4,800 people in Canada had a licence for medicinal marijuana as of March 2010. It expected that number to grow to 6,000 by 2011.
But the court also heard that the need is far greater. Surveys indicate there may be some 400,000 people in Canada using marijuana for medical reasons — without the needed licence.
Taliano referred to Canadian court rulings that describe marijuana as “relatively harmless” compared to hard drugs and that note it has no history of recorded deaths from consumption.
The court ruling only applies to Ontario. But a federal law wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on if it didn’t apply to Canada’s biggest province.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said little about the ruling as he campaigns for the May 2 federal election. It’s a good bet he doesn’t like it. Stiffer prison sentences for marijuana possession are part of his “tough on crime” electoral platform.
If the government chooses to appeal, the case would go to the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court would be the final step.

4 Responses to Ontario Judge;Reform the Cannabis Laws or Canada’s dope laws go up in smoke

  1. forrest had this to say about that:

    I just want to see it legal, period. I see wonderful folks of all walks of life enjoy it! I dont want it taxed either. Just legalize it already. Nothing bad ever happens around pot except the police and government. WE support fully legalization.

  2. eric o'neill had this to say about that:

    PLEASE..FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…Marijuana has had a bad name for too long..it was made out to be the worst thing in the world…and alas…its just a bloody plant..ya..a plant.u know..thoes living things that turn carbon to oxagen..clean air..plants been on earth before people…animals ate this stuff…and it never killed off any spieces..never will..it bugs me..I am Canadian..I don’t know exactly how long alcohol proibition lasted..I do know it did not work…with the black market and all…and what bothers me is…tobaco,alcohol..u can purchas, as long as your of age..they educate and give u all the warnning lables…this stuff can be dangerous…but its your choice….u know the risks..alcohol can be healthy, if u know, u had one glass of whine a day..or had a shot of hot whiskey when your sick…old remity..tobaco..absalutely know health benifit…not good for u at all…and when the goverment regulated it …it got even worse…there are so many poisons in it…it should be illegal…(coming from a smoker)…but again…choice…now Marijuana…they said “it causes brain cells to die”…they debunced that in the 60′s..they hooked up a gas mask to a monkey..who was trained to smoke..and the mask covered its nose and mouth,pumping marijuana smoke into its lungs….not getting any air…well,suffercation kills brain cells…not marijuana..any way…long story short…they got 20 years of putting good research together…over the 40 or so years of being illegal…and only good benifits…well smoke period is not exactly good for the lungs but, the canabinoids help the lungs…so if u are just a marijuana smoker..the canabinoids counter act the smoke..so it kind of evens it out..I guess the fact is…alcohol..tobaco…even caffine..people can overdose on caffine..caffine is a text book drug..could u imagine…next week if caffine became illegal..no coffee…chocolate…or red bull..I tell ya..the first people in my mind to go off the handle….police…judges..any law persons..then the rest of people..cause people are literaly addicted to caffine..every time a scientist finds something good about marijuana…some palition makes a horible excuse to bring it back down..and thats all it is, an excuse..no scientific evidance behind his or her explanation..we know alcohol kills millions a year…we know tobaco kills millions a year..caffine..thousands a year…marijuana….not one person has ever overdoesed in human history on record…even perscription pills kill thousands a year or more….so its choice…so these things kill…we know that..and it is still sold,legaly…and marijuana has never killed any one…except it being illegal..and its the devil…no…it should be ban from the planet….but wait…if pharmasists EXTRACT a substance from it and add man made chemicals to it and then, slap a name on it …its then legal,if perscribed to u …oh i get it now…and that is UNCONSTITUTIONAL..lets face it..if some one is not addicted to DRUGS…its porn…and if its not porn…it food..and if its not food..its video games..or facebook..or something…lets face it…everything in life can be addicting..some may kill…some may ruin relationships…lost of jobs..i can go on….its RESPONSIBILITY..people can be carless with anything..its bad to say the legal stuff can kill or cause harm..the fact is some people can handle..some can’t …its choice…I choose not to drink, I have a beer once a month or two..and thats my choice..I smoke cigarettes…thats my choice…i know the dangers…and i choose to smoke or eat marijuana…and i bet majority of canada does too…weather they admit it or not…even amaricans…majority..

    In conclution….the conservatives may have MAJORITY GOVERMENT…..but…we the people of canada..america..south america or where ever in the world….will always ALWAYS….have MAJORITY COUNTRY….

    sorry my opinion is so long…but hey…if it helps people grow the @#$% up…then i did my part as a …..person..

    thank u

  3. eric o'neill had this to say about that:

    sorry about the spelling mistakes…but i hope this gets threw to somebody

  4. John had this to say about that:

    I understand now why dope is bad for mental health. Thanks for the last comment ….

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