Medical Marijuana Clubs Mount Court Challenge

Lawyers for 35 people arrested during raids that shut down five compassion clubs in Quebec say they will mount a constitutional challenge to the federal government’s medical marijuana laws.

Supporters of those arrested during the raids on June 3 protested outside the Montreal courthouse Monday.

Inside, the 35 were formally charged with drug possession, trafficking and conspiracy.

Health Canada only offers one strain of medical marijuana, and the only legal way to purchase it is through the ministry.

Defence lawyer Jeffrey Boro, who is representing the co-founder of the Culture 420 club in Montreal’s Lachine district, said his client was simply filling in the gaps left by the federal government’s distribution program.

“The government is failing, as the courts have said … in their duty to put into place a system where people can lawfully obtain what they’re lawfully allowed to possess,” said Boro.

In early 2003, the Supreme Court of Ontario ruled that the medical access regulations were unconstitutional because they were failing to provide a legal supply of the drug. Ottawa responded later that year with a plan to provide dried marijuana or seeds to Canadians authorized to take marijuana for medical reasons. That plan — occasionally tweaked — remains largely intact to this day.

But it is time for the law to catch up with society, said Boro.

“I don’t believe that most, if not all, of the people who were here in court are criminals in the sense of the word that we often use,” he said.

“I would like to have a jury of 12 men and women under the age of 40 and watch to see if they’ll convict.”

Boro’s client, Gary Webber, called the federal government’s distribution program “a total failure.”

Like many other medical marijuana users, Webber said he has been forced to turn to the streets to get the drug since the closure of the clubs.

He refuses to use the strain provided by Health Canada, calling it “poison.”

Some other medical marijuana activists have blamed Webber and his organization for the raids.

The recently opened Culture 420 club in Lachine and its second location in the Plateau district required only a declaration made before a commissioner of oaths from those interested in buying marijuana.

Other locations, including the Montreal Compassion Centre, have said they required a doctor’s prescription.

Police said they had received several complaints from residents about Culture 420.

– Article from CBC News.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    My last post raises the question of why couldn’t a Pharmacist legally dispense Cannabis? It’s obviously a prescription drug or why else would Heath Canada be dispensing it to medical patients who have such a prescription? Cannabis is in Schedule 2 of the CDSA. That’s the only drug in that schedule. Scedule 1 has drugs such as codeine, which a Pharmacist can obviously dispense. Schedule 3 has drugs like amphetamine, which a Pharmacist could also dispense. Is the government of Canada saying that a Pharmacist can dispense Schedule 1, 3 and 4 drugs but not Schedule 2 drugs? How does that make sense? What makes Cannabis so special that it requires Health Canada to personally dispense it? When did Health Canada become the nation’s Pharmacist? Why is Health Canada the only place that can grow Cannabis for dispensing as medication? Do they also have to produce all of the other prescription drugs in the CDSA? Funny how other people are able to produce Codeine and deliver it to Pharmicists to retail to patients with prescriptions but not Cannabis. What exactly makes Cannabis such a special case? Is it its high toxicity or addictiveness with life threatening withdrawal symptoms? Can’t be that, so what is it? When are Health Canada and Rob Nicholson going to answer THAT question? What the hell makes Cannabis so dangerous that only Health Canada can be licensed to produce and sell it?

  2. Anonymous on

    What’s the difference between being an appointed grower for a patient and just selling it to them already grown and dried? I suppose the clubs should really have had licensed Pharmacists dispensing the medication though. Even trafficking a Schedule 4 drug will get you 1-3 years in prison, if you’re not a Pharmacist and you’re not checking prescriptions. It would be nice if I could just open up a Valium stand any time I wanted, but somebody would probably do something about it if I did. That’s pretty much what these clubs were doing, just a different antianxiety drug involved.