Download and print the “Pot Law Has Fallen” PDF pamphlet! Side One and Side Two. Marijuana activists are hailing a recent court ruling as the beginning of the end of Canada’s prohibition on pot, but the Crown dismisses the decision as non-binding. A trial judge in Oshawa, Ontario threw out charges of simple possession of marijuana against three young men on October 19, relying on a previous court ruling that found Canada’s pot law unconstitutional.
In making his decision, Justice Norman Edmondson cited a decision last July by a fellow judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. In the earlier case, which is being appealed by the Crown, Justice Howard Borenstein accepted the defence lawyer’s argument that Ottawa must pass a law — rather than rely solely on government policy — to allow accredited medical marijuana users to possess pot.
Health Canada has been forced by a series of court decisions to set up a medical marijuana program authorizing patients struggling with chronic conditions to use dope to alleviate their symptoms. And a court ruling in 2003 required Health Canada to provide government-certified marijuana to these patients so they don’t have to turn to the black market for their medicine.
In the July 13 Borenstein decision, defence lawyer Bryan McAllister successfully argued that the law itself should have been changed, not just the program. And because the law has not been rewritten to accommodate medical users, the prohibition on all use — including recreational use — collapses because the law is unconstitutional, the court ruled.
A spokeswoman for the Crown said the October decision in Oshawa will not be appealed. “The decision of the trial judge is not binding upon any other trial judge and the (Borenstein) decision he relied upon … was wrongly decided,” Stephane Marinier, of the Brampton, Ontario office of Public Prosecution Service of Canada, said in a e-mail. The Crown will make its counter-arguments in an appeal of the Borenstein decision at Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, Marinier said.
In the Oshawa case, the three accused were defended without charge by paralegal Edwin Pearson, and with court costs of about $3,000 paid by Doug Hutchinson, a self-described “pot-head professor.” Hutchinson is a tenured professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto who took on the case after learning that one of the accused was related to a student in his class.
Pearson, a legal scholar who says the pot law has been unconstitutional since a 2001 court ruling, says the federal government is causing great harm by pursuing prohibition. “They’re making kids into criminals. They’re taking away their educational capabilities, job capabilities, their travelling capabilities, because of what? Because of pot?” he said in an interview. “It’s ridiculous.”
Pearson and Hutchinson have created a self-help kit to encourage others accused of marijuana possession to make their own constitutional challenges.
– Article from The Canadian Press
The Pot Law Has Fallen
2007 November 14
Canada’s prohibition of the possession of marijuana has once again been declared to be constitutionally invalid and of no legal force or effect. In a judgment released yesterday of a decision he rendered in Oshawa on October 19, Justice Edmondson of the Ontario Court of Justice dismissed charges against three young men accused of simple possession of marijuana, declaring that “there is no offence known to law which the accused have committed.”
Justice Edmondson said that he found to be “persuasive” the reasoning of a judgement released on July 13 and 26 by Justice Borenstein (also of the Ontario Court of Justice) which had previously found the prohibition to be invalid; both judges declared that the Medical Marijuana Access Regulations are unconstitutional, which automatically makes the overall prohibition legally invalid.
“This has been my view for years,” said Prof. Doug Hutchinson, a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and himself an authorized user of medical marijuana. “The prohibition of the possession of marijuana has been invalid since 2001 July 31, the anniversary of the Parker ruling.” He publicly predicted that he would be able to prove the invalidity of the prohibition to the first judge he could get to consider the arguments; and this prediction was fulfilled on October 19 in Oshawa.
Professor Hutchinson now calls on the Provost of Trinity College and the President of the University of Toronto to recognize that the marijuana prohibition is invalid and to abandon their illegitimate attempt to enforce on campus this invalidated law. He calls on the Deputy Director of the Ontario Region of the Federal Prosecution Service to withdraw charges in all pending cases of marijuana possession in Ontario, and he calls on the Deputy Attorney General of Canada to withdraw charges in all pending cases in Canada.
Hutchinson also calls on all Canadian citizens to spread the word about the fall of the law, to render assistance to any Canadians accused under the invalid law, and to refuse to recognize the validity of any alleged marijuana prohibition, unless a future prohibition comes to be legitimately enacted by Commons and Senate in proper democratic fashion.
For further details about this case and its implications, visit www.ThePotLawHasFallen.ca.
Prof. D. S. Hutchinson
Fellow of Trinity College
Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto
Phone: (416) 978-8259
Founder and Director
Vancouver Island Compassion Society
Phone: (250) 884-9821
Phone: (905) 634-9049
Court Qualified Cannabis Production and Usage Expert
Phone: (250) 748-8614