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.
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)