Health Canada’s troubled medical-marijuana program is again under fire, with the launch of the first court challenge by a company denied a government licence to grow the product commercially.
Lawyers for New Age Medical Solutions Inc., which has a grow facility in rural British Columbia, filed a motion in Federal Court last week against Health Minister Rona Ambrose, asking that a judge review the decision not to grant a licence.
The company, founded and run by marijuana activist Sam Mellace, applied almost a year ago to become a licensed producer, under new Health Canada rules that are creating a billion-dollar commercial industry.
Health Canada rejected the application Aug. 10, saying the firm had not hired an acceptable quality-assurance specialist.
Mellace retained the Toronto firm Chaitons LLP, which is seeking the court’s permission to extend a deadline for legal action. Papers were filed last week. Mellace could not be contacted and his lawyer declined comment.
An Ottawa lawyer who specializes in assisting companies with their grow applications to Health Canada said the case may trigger other legal challenges from companies denied licences.
“I know, speaking to many applicants, that nobody really wanted to be the first one,” said Trina Fraser. “The barn door is open now.… There’s a feeling there’s strength in numbers.”
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