Ontario Man To Take Medical Marijuana Case To Supreme Court

A St. Catharines man who came close to changing Canada’s medical marijuana laws before an Ontario court upheld them earlier this month plans to take his case to the Supreme Court.

“We got the ball rolling, kept rolling it,” said Matthew Mernagh, 39, outside a courtroom in St. Catharines Tuesday. “It’s way bigger than me. I’m kind of here for the ride.”

Mernagh was in court Tuesday after his 2008 marijuana production charge was tossed back to the trial courts by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Mernagh was charged in April 2008 after Niagara Regional Police found 70 pot plants in his apartment.

He claimed he needed marijuana to help ease symptoms of fibromyalgia, scoliosis and a seizure disorder, but was unable to get a doctor to sign a medical declaration.

The declarations are required under Canadian law in order to possess or produce marijuana for medical purposes.

St. Catharines Superior Court Judge Donald Taliano sided with Mernagh, finding in April 2011 that Canada’s medical marijuana program failed to give legal access to sick people who need the drug largely because family doctors refuse to endorse the paperwork.

He also stayed the charges against Mernagh.

The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the decision on Feb. 1, finding the trial judge erred in finding medical exemptions are practically unavailable. It quashed the decision and ordered a new trial.

Mernagh appeared in court Tuesday with a letter from his lawyer Paul Lewin, requesting the case be adjourned while they seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Lewin said patients with severe illnesses should be entitled to medical marijuana, but many doctors aren’t comfortable signing declarations for something that’s not an approved drug.

“There’s a lot of hostility and distrust by the medical community towards medical marijuana,” he said.

Mernagh said he couldn’t find a family doctor in St. Catharines and trying to get a doctor at a walk-in clinic to sign a declaration was impossible.

“It was way easier to grow than to find a family doctor,” he said. “It’s an unusual problem to have. The program was designed to fail.”

The court battle has thrust Mernagh into the spotlight as a medical marijuana crusader. He has a webcast in Toronto on Pot TV and gets daily e-mails from people looking for legal help.

– Read the entire article at Toronto Sun.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. awesomesound on

    Right on Matt: You can use this if you want.

    I Paid Just Over $500.00 for my ATP because my doctor would not sign, but I meet the criteria of the MMAR program through any Physician. Until all Physician are mandated to accept there patients needs over there own (ignorance}in brackets because tests are done, research is in, Guess What? Cannabis IS MEDICALLY BENIFICAL. .
    As for getting rid of the Individual grower I just don’t understand how I can buy just a part of the plant? I use the whole plant, Stalk & leaves for Cannabutter, Bud to Medicated and WHAT do I do with SEEDS? I my self am serviced by a Compassion Club they are serviced by Individual growers who produce a variety of strains for a variety of illnesses and about half of them are at subsidized prices at 5-7 dollars a gram. If my Club gets forced out of business and they (“don’t care what you say” Health Canada} can’t provide the service I need I will be returning to my dealer.
    To all Doctors & Politicians go to http://www.calgarycmmc.com/ then click on Cannabis Videos-Updated Daily, Here you find information videos on everything from Dispensaries and how they work to Accredited Doctors explaining the usages, effects, side effects of Cannabis. Look further into this site and you will find studies, research modals and findings. Or if you choose just search Google and you will find all the necessary information you will need including Prescriptions and Dosages per day. Please Do Not say there is not enough Research or Studies for you or your patients to make a honest responsible choice for Cannabis as a medical treatment if the prognosis is warranted, the critically ill and chronic pain suffers don’t have 15 years for Cannabis to be “Accepted“ by the Medical Profession, the Government and Society.
    I pose this question: Would you be more concerned with a Patient that has chronic debilitating pain that is taking Opiods that is incognative or a Patient that is taking 4-8 grams of Cannabis per day and is lucid and able to do at least some of his daily activities? Because that is the difference for Patients that are on the MMAR program.
    If Health Canada’s commercial growers are to equal the service and compassion of the Dispensaries they will need to not only grow but be able to breed specific strains for all illnesses not just 1 strain as they do right now, and also offer a few strains at subsidized prices at 5-7 dollars a gram for Patient that are on fixed incomes and if they are going to price per strain as they do at the Dispensaries top price CAN NOT exceed 12 dollars per gram for the best strains or we will all go back to our dealers or what the Government calls the Black Market.
    The Harper Government mite what to consider licensing the growers & breeders that are already growing safe quality medical Cannabis.
    Its come to my attn. that the new Commercial Grower Regulation means as a patient my prescription is for one grower and if he does not have my strain I will have to go back to my doctor for another prescription for another Commercial Grower, this will only cause more Headache, Grief and Physical Pain that has already been inflicted upon by HEALTH CANADA. If the Government is getting out of the Medical Cannabis Business, then they should GET OUT!!! And let Dispensaries take over.

  2. Anonymous on

    Everyone do what you can. In no time with all Canada voices as one we can move away from prohibition and towards a regulated and taxed industry.

    Much like America is moving towards despite starting this mess.