Important Medical Marijuana Court Decision on February 2 in BC Supreme Court

The most comprehensive constitutional challenge to Health Canada’s medical marijuana policy and practice will conclude next week in the B.C. Supreme Court. A decision will be heard in BC Supreme Court (800 Smithe St.) on the 2nd of February at 9am, marking the final chapter of this nearly five-year charter challenge.

This court case is the most extensive legal challenge ever mounted against Canada’s much-maligned federal medical cannabis program. It stems from a May 2004 RCMP raid of a medical cannabis research and production facility near Sooke, BC overseen by the The Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS), a non-profit medical cannabis organization located in Victoria, BC.

The raid resulted in the destruction of over 900 cannabis plants being cultivated for the 400+ members of the VICS (all of whom use medical cannabis with the support of their physicians) and the arrest of Mr. Mat Beren, who was the VICS employee responsible for the facility at the time of the raid.

“Our hope is that the courts will come to the aid of Canada’s critically and chronically ill by defending their constitutional right to access and use medical cannabis from a safe source without unnecessary bureaucratic delays or obstacles,” said Philippe Lucas, the founder and director of the VICS and a newly elected municipal councilor in the city of Victoria.

“Canadians have a well-established legal right to access medical cannabis,” added Kirk Tousaw, counsel to Mr. Beren. “It is tragic that Health Canada has not put in place a system to effectively allow patients to exercise that right. Because of their failure, the arrest and prosecution of both patients and caregivers continue to this day.”

The VICS is a medical cannabis non-profit society founded in 1999 that currently supplies a safe source of cannabis-based medicines to over 850 critically or chronically ill Canadians with a doctors’ recommendation for its use.

To read previous stories about this case, see here and here, as well as the CC “VICS” article archive here.

Court Decision: Be There to Show Support!

Vancouver Supreme Court (800 Smithe St.) on the 2nd of Feb. 9am.

Final decision in Regina v. Beren Charter challenge

Press conference to follow decision (10:15 am est)


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on

    A B.C. Supreme Court justice has endorsed a recent Federal Court decision that the federal government’s marijuana program is unconstitutional.

    Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg gave the federal government a year to fix the medical marijuana access regulations so compassion clubs or groups of users can get together and have a common grow operation.

    At the moment, any licenced grower is restricted to supplying only one licenced user.

    And although Koenigsberg found the regulations constitutionally wanting she still convicted Mathew Beren of Vancouver Island of trafficking, though she gave him an absolute discharge, meaning he will have no criminal record.

    Beren had been growing pot for the local compassion club and argued he should not be convicted because the reguations were an unreasonable barrier to patients’ access to needed medication.

    The judge however said many of those served by the club lacked a government licence to use.