Canada’s Supreme Court to make marijuana ruling

Canada`s Supreme Court buildingCanada`s Supreme Court buildingOn Tuesday, December 23, at 9:45am EST, Canada’s Supreme Court will deliver their judgement in three major cannabis cases that have the potential to free Canada’s marijuana culture, or to further entrench the nation’s pot prohibition. Watch Pot-TV for a live broadcast and commentary on the verdict.
The three cases involve defendants Randy Caine, Chris Clay, and David Malmo-Levine, and cover the whole spectrum of cannabis law -possession, cultivation and trafficking respectively.

Randy Caine was was arrested in White Rock, BC for possession of a half-gram of pot in 1993 (CC#01, Voyages). Chris Clay owned a store in London, Ontario and was arrested in 1995 for selling clones over the counter (CC#09, Trial of the century). David Malmo-Levine was charged with trafficking in 1997 for selling pot from his Harm Reduction Club (CC#09, Heaven with an eagle feather).

David Malmo-Levine represented himself, a rarity in Supreme Court hearings. Chris Clay was represented by lawyers Alan Young and Paul Burstein, while Randy Caine was represented by John Conroy.

The possible responses from the Supreme Court range from them rejecting all calls for pot-law reform, to their striking down Canada’s pot prohibition and creating a new standard for how to judge the necessity of restrictive legislation in the future.

“Will the Supreme Court give Canada’s pot culture the best Christmas present ever?” asked Emery rhetorically. “Or will the prohibionist grinches snatch our freedom away again? We’ll find out on December 23!”

* For history and details on these Supreme Court cases: Canada’s Supreme Court hears marijuana challenge.

* Go to Pot-TV on December 23, 9:30am EST (6:30am PST) for a live broadcast of the Supreme Court decision, and commentary on the verdict from Marc Emery, David Malmo-Levine, and other cannabis activists.Canada`s Supreme Court building

What follows is the official announcement from the Supreme Court that they will be delivering judgement on December 23.

—————————————————————————-

SUPREME COURT OF CANADA — JUDGMENTS TO BE RENDERED IN APPEALS

OTTAWA, 17/12/03. THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA ANNOUNCED TODAY THAT JUDGMENT IN THE FOLLOWING APPEALS WILL BE DELIVERED AT 9:45 A.M. ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2003.

FROM: SUPREME COURT OF CANADA (613) 995-4330

1.David Malmo-Levine v. Her Majesty the Queen (Crim.) (B.C.) (28026)

2.Victor Eugene Caine v. Her Majesty the Queen (Crim.) (B.C.) (28148)

3.Christopher James Clay v. Her Majesty the Queen (Crim.) (B.C.) (28189)

—————————————————————————-

28026 David Malmo-Levine v. Her Majesty The Queen

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Section 7 – Narcotic Control Act, s. 4 – Whether the Court of Appeal erred in characterizing the harms that may come with cannabis use as inherent, instead of a product of mis-cultivation, mis-distribution and mis-use – Did the Court of Appeal fail to address the issue of whether the harm principle applies to growers and dealers of cannabis who arguably play an essential role in cannabis harm reduction? – Whether the Court of Appeal erred in not considering the principle of equality found in s. 15 of the Charter as it applies to substance orientation and in not applying equality to every producer and distributor of stimulants and relaxants, whether bean, grape, herb or otherwise.

The Appellant was a self-described marihuana / freedom activist. Beginning in October 1996, he helped operate an organization in East Vancouver known as the Harm Reduction Club which was a co-operative, non-profit association of its members. The stated object of the Club was to educate its users and the general public about marihuana and provide unadulterated marihuana to its users at Club cost. The Club had approximately 1800 members.

The Club purported to educate its members on a wide variety of safe smoking habits to minimize any harm from the use of marihuana. Members were required to sign a pledge not to operate motor vehicles or heavy equipment while under the influence of the substance.

On December 4, 1996, police entered the premises of the Club and seized 316 grams of marihuana, much of it in the form of joints. The Appellant was charged with possession of marihuana for the purpose of trafficking contrary to s. 4 of the Narcotic Control Act and was convicted. At trial, the Appellants application to call evidence in constitutional challenge was dismissed. On appeal, the majority of the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Prowse J.A. dissenting declined to make a finding with respect to the constitutional validity of s. 4(2) of the Narcotic Control Act. On March 15, 2001, leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was also granted.

Origin of the case: British Columbia

File No.:28026

Judgment of the Court of Appeal:June 2, 2000

Counsel: David Malmo-Levine/John W. Conroy Q.C. for the Appellant

S.D. Frankel Q.C. for the Respondent

—————————————————————————-

28148 Victor Eugene Caine v. Her Majesty The Queen

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Section 7 – Narcotic Control Act, s. 3(1) – Whether prohibiting possession of Cannabis (marihuana) for personal use under s. 3(1) of the Narcotic Control Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-1, by reason of the inclusion of this substance in s. 3 of the Schedule to the Act (now s. 1, Schedule II, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19), infringes s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – If the answer is in the affirmative, is the infringement justified under s. 1 of the Charter? – Whether the prohibition is within the legislative competence of the Parliament of Canada as being a law enacted for the peace, order and good government of Canada pursuant to s. 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867; as being enacted pursuant to the criminal law power in s. 91(27) thereof; or otherwise.

During the late afternoon of June 13, 1993, two R.C.M.P. officers were patrolling a parking lot at a beach in White Rock, B.C. They observed the Appellant and a male passenger sitting in a van owned by the Appellant. The officers observed the Appellant, who was seated in the drivers seat, start the engine and begin to back up. As one officer approached the van, he smelled a strong odour of recently smoked marihuana.

The Appellant produced for the officer a partially smoked cigarette of marihuana which weighed 0.5 grams. He possessed the marihuana cigarette for his own use and not for any other purpose.

The Appellants application for a declaration that the provisions the Narcotic Control Act prohibiting the possession of marihuana were unconstitutional was denied. On appeal, the appeal was dismissed.

Origin of the case: British Columbia

File No.:28148

Judgment of the Court of Appeal:June 2, 2000

Counsel: John W. Conroy Q.C. for the Appellant

S.D. Frankel Q.C. for the Respondent

—————————————————————————-

28189 Christopher Clay v. Her Majesty The Queen

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Section 7 – Narcotic Control Act, s. 3(1) – Whether prohibiting possession of Cannabis (marihuana) for personal use under s. 3(1) of the Narcotic Control Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-1, by reason of the inclusion of this substance in s. 3 of the Schedule to the Act (now s. 1, Schedule II, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19), infringes s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – If the answer is in the affirmative, is the infringement justified under s. 1 of the Charter? – Whether the prohibition is within the legislative competence of the Parliament of Canada as being a law enacted for the peace, order and good government of Canada pursuant to s. 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867; as being enacted pursuant to the criminal law power in s. 91(27) thereof; or otherwise.

The Appellant was convicted of possession of cannabis sativa, two counts of possession of cannabis sativa for the purpose of trafficking and one count of trafficking in cannabis sativa, contrary to the Narcotic Control Act. The Appellant challenged the constitutionality of the cannabis prohibitions in the Narcotic Control Act on the basis that they violated his rights under s. 7 of the Charter and that the regulation of marijuana was not within federal jurisdiction. He also argued that the Crown had failed to prove that the substances seized from him were prohibited narcotics as defined by the Act. An analyst called by the Crown testified that a substance certified as cannabis (marijuana) must contain two of four target cannabinoids and that it is not necessary that one of these be tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The analyst could not say that the seized substances contained any THC. The trial judge dismissed the Appellants constitutional challenge and found that the Crown had proven the offences. The Appellants appeal from his convictions was dismissed.

Origin of the case: Ontario

File No.: 28189

Judgment of the Court of Appeal: July 31, 2000

Counsel: Paul Burstein for the Appellant

Morris Pistyner for the Respondent

Comments