Ontario Judge Rules Canada’s Marijuana Laws Unconstitutional

Medical marijuana user Matt Mernagh and his medicine.Medical marijuana user Matt Mernagh and his medicine.CANNABIS CULTURE – In a case with wide-ranging implications, an Ontario Superior Court judge struck down Canada’s laws prohibiting the possession and production of marijuana on Tuesday, giving the federal government 90 days to fix the country’s medical marijuana program before the ruling comes into effect and effectively legalizes cannabis.

In an April 12 ruling in the case of R. v. Mernagh, Justice Donald Taliano found that Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) and “the prohibitions against the possession and production of cannabis (marihuana) contained in sections 4 and 7 respectively of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” are “constitutionally invalid and of no force and effect”.

The case centers around medical marijuana activist (and frequent Cannabis Culture contributor) Matt Mernagh, who has long used medical marijuana to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, scoliosis and seizures, but has not been able to find a doctor willing to sign the required paperwork that would allow him to become a legal marijuana user. Mernagh was raided and arrested for growing his own plants without a licence.

Judge Taliano wrote in his decision:

the road to marihuana approval is a virtual obstacle course which few patients can navigate. Rather than providing access to medicinal marihuana, the MMAR raise so many barriers to access that the defence is meaningless and illusory for most patients. […]

The deleterious effects of the MMAR on Mr. Mernagh and other similarly situated individuals are clear. Seriously ill persons who need marihuana to treat their symptoms are forced to choose between their health and their liberty. If they choose their health, they must go to significant lengths to obtain the marihuana they need, including lengthy trips to purchase the drug, resort to the black market, and living with the constant stress that at any time they could be subject to criminal prosecution. These already sick individuals must further cope with the added stress of the stigma and social rejection of friends, family and members of the public who see them as criminals. This is not to mention the real fear of losing one’s doctor simply by inquiring about the drug and damage to the patient-doctor relationship.”

Ultimately, the judge found that doctors’ “overwhelming refusal to participate in the medicinal marijuana program completely undermines the effectiveness of the program” and that “the requirement for a medical doctor’s declaration has rendered the MMAR unconstitutional”.

Because the government has not been able to provide an effective system granting patients access to medical marijuana – as required by the 2000 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in the case of R. v. Parker (which forced the creation of the MMAR) – the judge struck down the prohibitions on possession and production, giving the government 90 days to come up with an alternative.

At the time of the Parker ruling in 2000, the court deemed simple possession laws unconstitutional but granted the government one year to establish the MMAR rules, which it did. The laws were again thrown out in 2003 when a court ruled the government had failed to change the laws adequately – and an appeal court upheld the decision. This eventually led to activist Marc Emery’s Summer of Legalization Tour, where he traveled the country testing pot laws by puffing joints in front of police stations, and had charges thrown out due to the Ontario decision.

Cannabis was eventually reclassified and possession laws were reinstated.

Years later in 2011, medical marijuana users are still fighting for access to medicine, but Tuesday’s court decision is another step in the right direction.

“It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet,” Mernagh told Cannabis Culture in a telephone interview just minutes after he read the judge’s decision. “I got everything I believed I could get. We put a lot into this case. [Lawyer] Paul Lewin and I worked literally from Labour Day ’till the day we went into court. I’m still really overwhelmed when I think about it. It’s groundbreaking.”

As part of the judge’s ruling, he granted Mernagh a personal exemption to possess and produce cannabis during the 90 day period of suspension.

Mernagh said he expects the government to appeal the decision, which would bring the case back in front of a court, but the activist said he is willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to fight for his rights.

“Our people have waited way too long for this,” he said. “This could very well be the final kick.”

The evidence in the case stood for itself, Mernagh said, and he is happy the judge actually made serious considerations.

“The judge really listened to us, and we brought a great body of evidence before him,” he said. “We spent six months doing prep work, we brought 20 witnesses from across Canada – there were people from Vancouver that testified on our behalf and there were people from P.E.I. that testified on our behalf. We didn’t just show him a little piece of the puzzle and fandangle him – we showed him the whole pie.”

Drug policy experts and activists have repeatedly criticized Health Canada’s flawed medical marijuana program, which has failed to provide proper access to adequate medicine, leading to the proliferation of technically illegal but tolerated medical marijuana dispensaries. Health Canada has also been responsible for long delays in issuing medical marijuana licences and renewals, leading to the harassment of patients by law enforcement.

“Complaints about the doctor-as-gatekeeper role, from patients and physicians, have been a constant feature of this flawed system,” said Kirk Tousaw, a BC lawyer and Executive Director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation. “This decision represents a huge step forward for critically and chronically ill Canadians that want to access this safe and effective medicine without being turned into criminals for doing so.”

Pro-pot Lawyer Alan Young told the Toronto Star the ruling was “significant” and a “step in the right direction”.

“If the government is not successful on appeal, they are going to be caught between a rock and a hard place because they don’t have an alternative program in mind,” he said. “They don’t have a plan B. They’re in trouble.”

Though there’s still a lot of work to be done, the ruling is undoubtedly a big win for members of Canada’s cannabis community – and some of them are celebrating already.

“It seriously feels like I just won the Stanley Cup,” Mernagh said. “And when star athletes win the Stanley Cup they always say, ‘I’m going to Disneyland’. So yeah, it feels like I just won the Stanley Cup, and I’m going to Vansterdam!”



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  3. kathy clark on

    The u.s. needs to vote on this. let the people speak, but more and more the government doesn’t want us to have a say. “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

  4. kathy clark on

    If you as a society are going to allow tobacco, prescription pills by pill mills, alcohol and people who are fat because of life choices then why,in the name of God are we saying no to pot? I understand about cocaine, meth and heroin. Bad stuff. Enough said.

  5. Anonymous on

    Good job to Canada activists! You guys are almost there. Now let’s hope this rubs off on the U.S and they open their eyes and we can get Marc out!

  6. Anonymous on

    Hi there, was wondering if you had any luck with information to getting your hydro back on, as i am in the same situation and desperate to find away around this. I am willing to do the cleaning, and pass the appropriate test but how do you do this without any power.

    Any feed back would help.

  7. scamp on

    sure would be nice if someone could help in this matter or give me advice in getting around this bullshit with Electrical authority,if anyone has advice would be greatly appreciated thks

  8. scamp on

    I was recently arrested september 23rd 2011 for a so called grow op,I had 3 clones clipped about a month before my bust off a couple of the 7 plants I had planted in my garden,I used to have a Health Canada Medical excemption card that allowed my to possess as well as grow and had this license for approx 4 years.I was notified in October 2010 that my Doctor would not be renewing any of his clients medical marjuana cards when they came due.Now not bad enough Ive been busted for growing pot but the police also charged me for trafficking my own percription medication because I kept them in my safe and had more than the exact prescription for that given 15 days in other bottles,Hello if I was trafficking why would I have to many and of course over time if you dont abuse your meds your gonna have more,cause doc appointments sometimes week or so before next one is due,Anyway now my house has been labeled a grow op and hydro came in and shut my hydro off at the pole while i was sitting in jail awaiting bail.Theres some bullshit Electrical Safety association here in ontario thats self governed and wont inspect my electrical in the house untill i pay like 3 grand to one of there choosen air quality companies.I live on fixed income and have a hard time making ends meat from month to month on what little I do recieve where in the hell am I gonna get extra 3 grand for this not to mention 565 hydro wants once its inspected I have tried MPP, but so far no response,I live in Northern Ontario and its starting to get get cold and not sure how much longer me and wife can stay in house we bought on rent to own with every cent we had as a downpayment now Iam affraid we are going to have to walk away from house and leave everything not to mention the person we bought house from holding bag,This is not the way I want it at all but Government bullshit has created this mess,IF my health Canada license was valid theres no need for this AIR QUALITY TEST AT ALL,what bullshit,WE are becoming a policed state

  9. insaneupsdriver on

    Lets just hope harper don’t get his way! he had 2 separate company’s do study’s on it hoping it would turn out like the one that was faked in the 70’s and when it came back that a can of cola was more harmful he threw both out and called them potheads! he want’s to make it like the U.S. where you get years for possession so he can fill his new privately owned prisons!


  10. Anonymous on

    Is there any followup information for this — I believe 90 days has passed.

  11. Anonymous on

    Is there any followup information for this — I believe 90 days has passed.

  12. James on

    It’s only THC that is illegal in Canada. Seeds have no THC, they are legal.

  13. James on

    It’s only THC that is illegal in Canada. Seeds have no THC, they are legal.

  14. rick ernst on

    I was just in-formed by my lawyer that I would not be getting my pot seeds back as they are illegal in Canada?????? W.T.F I am a legal grower is he right???? Can anyone help me with this???? thanks in advance

  15. Anonymous on

    I completely agree, what’s the point in keeping it illegal when there are so many more way’s to benefit from it without the risk! Tylenol has recently been linked to blood cancer. It should be legal, and if the government decides to sell it that’s great, but they better not treat it like tobacco and add a bunch of shit, if I want cancer I’ll take up smoking cigarette’s and a half bottle of tylenol all everyday.

  16. Anonymous on

    I agree with u, I think it should be legalize across the board. I work really hard for my money, I should be allowed to come home after a hard days work and spark up. I do not drink, and believe we should have the right to go and purchase it legally, just like anybody else,who goes to the liquor store, to purchase booze. Yet, Alcohol, is more destructive, and more socially acceptable, and yet as a pot smoker, we have no rights, and pot is less dangerous. Go figure.

  17. Anonymous on

    I could never understand why the government is so against it. They could market it the same as the LCBO and tax it. Personnally I would rather have to pay some tax on it then be looking over my shoulder. As for planting it and growing it myself ….that is as likely as I am to grow a garden for my for my veggies. In the beginning there will be people that grow their own but that will get old quickly if you could just go down the street and buy it… No work, no hazzle. How many back woods stills do you know of? But when booze was illegal there were lots. This will work the same way.
    As for getting addicted I don’t buy that for a minute or for wanting something “stronger” that is crap. I don’t know of one single pot smoker that says …”oh this doesn’t do it for me anymore now I need cocaine” Just doesn’t work that way. I would bet money the experts they ask about this have never been on any kind of drugs that they didn’t get from their doctor.
    Booze is more harmful then pot. You don’t get stupid on pot or out of control like one does if they drink to much, on pot you just get happy, hungry and then tired.
    Personally this is not a big issue for me cause I can have it or not the same as booze but for those who smoke it regularly or need it medically I hope this will stand.

  18. Anonymous on

    i noticed this too and found it strange.Like they dont want the public to be informed, just be completly oblivious.Why wouldnt they tell the public, this is a serious matter effecting many ill-people and just people who like to get high

    Weed is safe, but yet no politition or doctor will agree with this out of fear. Democracy my ass.

  19. awesomesound on

    Prohibition does not work!!!
    Do you see street gangs and thugs setting up stills and selling whiskey? there is no money or customers for it because people go to a store and buy it. if there was a store where we could go buy a bag of weed with no legal worries, do you think criminals would be setting up grow ops NO because there is no money or customers for it.

  20. Anonymous on

    Hi Everyone,


    I heard that this company expanded from BC to Ontario from a friend – BC Botanicals

    How I got it – called 1 877 778 2714 – setup a skype appointment with a physician in BC who can prescribe marijuana.

    There are more detailed steps on the BC Botanicals Website.

    It was FAST & EASY and I did NOT have to ask my doctor for a prescription again, and have him say no again. haha.

    I didn’t believe it until i saw it arrive at my doorstep. AMAZING!

    I wish everyone a great day and prosperous, healthy, and medicated future!

  21. Anonymous on

    Hi Everyone,


    I heard that this company expanded from BC to Ontario from a friend – BC Botanicals

    How I got it – called 1 877 778 2714 – setup a skype appointment with a physician in BC who can prescribe marijuana.

    There are more detailed steps on the BC Botanicals Website.

    It was FAST & EASY and I did NOT have to ask my doctor for a prescription again, and have him say no again. haha.

    I didn’t believe it until i saw it arrive at my doorstep. AMAZING!

    I wish everyone a great day and prosperous, healthy, and medicated future!

  22. Andy on

    ugh. i am so sorry.

  23. Anonymous on

    Im hoping the election freezes the governments process and the time laps and this bill gets passed!

  24. Multiballer on

    Firstly, I am not a lawyer.

    Again, I want to remind all of my fellow recreational smokers that the law has not been repealed. Further, I bring to your attention this article:


    In summary, the Ontario government has appealed the decision. As I understand it, this means that the 90 day timer has been paused. The laws are still in effect until a finding that the lower court’s decision is valid has been declared.

    Don’t get arrested – keep fighting the fight.

  25. Multiballer on

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

    This decision needs to stand before it applies to you. For now, you might be able to make the claim of medical necessity, but otherwise the charges are valid.

    If reforms are made to the program or you can get a medical access card before the trial, you might be able to argue that the charges should not apply to you. The crown wants to avoid situations such as yours from overturning the laws, but in order for the crown to see your situation as valid, you will need your doctor to back you up, and that means finding a doctor who can sign you off.

    I’m sorry, but until the law has been quashed or you can be in compliance with the law, your only avenue might be to get mercy from the judge. Get medical documents that show the severity of your arthritis and perhaps copies of your perscriptions to show the kind of pain management you require.

    If you want to have a measure of success along the lines of Mr. Mernagh, follow what he did: Find people who have cards who can speak to the difficulty of obtaining the cards, and find others who are willing to testify to the difficulty of getting their first cards issued. Further note that severe arthritis is recognized by Health Canada as a Class 1 (form B1) condition in the MMAR forms.

    It’s difficult to offer advice without knowing all the details of your specific case. The crown’s jobs is the prove factually that you broke the law, while your job is to show justification for being out of compliance. Highlighting the difficulty of being in compliance could go a long way toward a successful defense.

    Again, I am not a lawyer and you should consult with one in order to defend yourself.

  26. temper_84 on

    i was also in the army and i am with you Haggard_head, i was burned and have TBI and severe PTSD and ive been thinking about packing my bags if canada dose this well ill see ya there cause im out of here because this festering pool of maggots we call our leaders
    SGT ret.

  27. Anonymous on

    I got busted on Apr. 11th for possession and cultivation.
    I have arthritis and have no doctor to sign for MMAR.

    Since it was before the decision means what???
    Can i go to court on May 10 and get off????

    Can a charge come back??

  28. Pablo on

    This is very good news.

    And yet we are pot smokers.

    And yet Canada seems to bend over backwards to satisfy the authoritarian banana republic next door.

    I hope it holds up, and then there will be something to celebrate.

    Don’t put your faith in corrupt systems that have failed you up to this point. You have to wait and see.

    Sorry to be cynical, but don’t give a rabid dog credit until it actually stops biting you and dies.

    Pot smokers are second class citizens until they are actually treated as otherwise.

    This is an issue beyond medical. It is a civil rights issue. At the core, it is a matter of fundamental liberty.

    Until my stupid country changes it’s ways(the usa), I don’t expect it to be ‘that’ much easier.

    On a lighter note, I do hope Canada and others will lead the way by beginning to ignore the freedom hating hypocritical dictates of my delusional corporate favoring country.

  29. Anonymous on

    absolutely agree

  30. Anonymous on

    This is fantastic news. It absolutely revolting how many Canadian citizens have been rejected one of the most effective medicines known because of a ridiculous reputation it carries with it. I hope that whichever party gets voted in in this upcoming election that they will make the right decision and legalize it.

  31. Anonymous on

    Why would the government appeal the decision rather than fix the problem? What does that say about them? That they will do whatever they can to prevent Canadians from getting the medicine they need. That can only mean one thing, the government is the enemy of Canadian citizens who are ill and want them to suffer for as long as they possibly can. What other explanation could there be?

    Every time they try to block access to Cannabis they are making it easier to win the NEXT case against them and making their violations of Canadians’s rights even more egregious. Thanks, geniuses. Now Cannabis will be completely legalized because of your feet dragging. It’s just a matter of time now. We know they will violate the court orders, like they already have, thus ensuring full legalization.

  32. raven on

    Upon my request of a prescription for medicinal marijuana, having suffered from spinal cord injury (being hit twice by drunk drivers) and arthritis, fused disc’s in the lower back and yadda yadda yadda (pain) and having already stopped breathing twice from a very low dose of oxycontin (endocet) My request caused my doctor to go into a fit of anger and he started spuing unsubstantiated information. Such as, “don’t you know this causes altzimers” and a number of other diseases, absolutely NOT he says. I can’t believe it, I am a 55 year old woman who raised and supported 2 fine daughters (one a paremedic and the other a critical care nurse, held down a job with the government for 31 years, own my own home, pay my bills and taxes and insurance, don’t drink and drive, “BUT I CAN’T CHOOSE THE METHOD OF MEDICATION OR GROW MY HERB IN MY GARDEN, AM FORCED TO DEALING WITH A POTENCIAL CRIMINAL ELEMENMT!” This I find barbaric in the 21st century!

  33. Haggard_head on

    I believe I speak for all ‘heads’ when I say we applaud the courts for using common sense instead of illogical fallacy! As an Army veteran I say honestly that I love what my country WAS founded on; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which have been replaced with greed, hypocrisy and pursuit of the ‘almighty dollar’, any cost. I dont want to travel outside of the country because i am too embarrassed to be holding a US passport. I only hope that the world can understand that the vast majority of Americans are NOT represented by the politians and news organizations, they represent an overwhelming minority; the 1% of our population that holds 90% of the wealth of this nation. Logic and compassion take a back seat to personal rhetoric and money. I’ve appreciated Canada since I heard my first Neil Young song! Got room for one more productive tax payer? 😉

  34. Anonymous on


  35. Spanner McNeil on

    Mr. Mernagh and his team are huge. In my eyes they are rolling that great stone up hill even further. At this point, it’s clear, a moratorium on arrests would be prudent until this thing takes its path up the steps of Justice. There’s little need for all this political cleavage. Card carrying members of all Parties and stripes use marijuana or have people in their lives that do and understands it’s use is reasonable among reasonable people. It’s use is innocent. Thank you, Mr. Mernagh.

  36. Anonymous on

    I think they should throw out the medical marijuana program all together and legalize it across the board. all this medical this, medical that, seems like a scam to keep holding on to prohibition so ppl can profit from it. i don’t need a license to buy Tylenol, but if i pop 30 or 40 i will get sick, maybe die. i could smoke an ounce one day and have no bad side effects the next. Calling it Medical all the time makes it seem to non users as just an excuse for us to get high. So what if i wanna get high. I’m an adult, it should be my decision to do so. I am not saying Marijuana doesn’t have medicinal power, but the word is being used as a scapegoat. Lets stop hiding behind a word and start moving on with our lives. Twist it, bite it , light it.

  37. Anonymous on

    in canada unconstitutional means a violation of the charter of rights.
    canada is a constitutional democracy. The word constitutional applies to both the constitution and the charter of rights.

  38. Anonymous on

    nah man,
    I just got charged with possession recently
    if you have over 15 and a bias officer
    you’re going to get charged.
    I’m trying to get medicinal myself too for depression, a borderline anxiety disorder and a head injury that left me with 3 fractures in my head which put me on the floor in pain.
    It is especially hard to get out here in Nova Scotia
    I’m hoping that now that the law has been stuck down in ontario that I might have more luck.. but I’m not counting on it.

  39. Anonymous on

    If by some chance it is the Ministry of Health giving the addresses of those who have applied for an exemption or those who have been exempt and then getting busted because the Ministry of Health has taken 10 months to renew the medical exemption. This needs to be answered. I am sure under the Charter of Rights these would all be illegal search and seizure? As well as a civil actions against the federal department that released the very private information!

  40. MultiBaller on

    The laws _are_still_in_effect!

    The government has 30 days to appeal the decision, but the law will remain in effect for 90 days. After 90 days, if the government hasn’t patched the law up through parliament so that its compliant, it dies forever (until they introduce a new law that has the same effect but includes the patches that satisfy the medical needs of patients).

    The 90 day timer will continue to countdown until an appeal is made and the judge who accepts the appeal freezes the 90 day timer.

    If the decision is upheld, Ontario will be a greenzone, and people from other provinces will have a possible defence. Again, this can be undone by passing a new law. So the key here will be to yell at our MPs to try and convince them to shut the law down.

    If, in any case, it hits the Canadian supreme court, their finding will either shatter the law or uphold it. If they shatter the law, it will no longer be in force. If they uphold it, it will apply in Ontario and the rest of the country again.

    Short version: It’s still illegal to possess and grow. Cops will probably overlook you possessing, but growing will probably catch their eye in a bad way.

  41. MultiBaller on

    Get into the mindset of Health Canada for a moment.

    From HC’s perspective, Marijuana is a narcotic that it abused regularly for the psychoactive effects by Canadians from teenage years all the way into late adulthood. Doctors don’t prescribe Oxycontin for a headache, and many will try you on weaker painkillers, often recommending Advil or Tylenol before putting you up to T3s or vicodin (or a morphine drip).

    The real problem with the Health Canada MMAR program is that… there needs to be an MMAR program. There are chemical cocktails that come in pill form that you can buy and which are far more powerful and addictive than pot. Officially, Health Canada believe that Cannabis is prone to more abuse and probably about as addictive, but unofficially, nobody wants to touch it.

    It’s irrational to make assumptions and then stick to them as fact, but Health Canada has been forced to err on the side of caution because we live in an environment that doesn’t let us do things any other way. There is no research funding and no effort put toward trying to learn the various strengths and weaknesses of Cannabis. They insist that the users are catalogued and carded.

    And this creates a unique situation within the legal framework: What happens to people in shelters or in situations where they rely on someone else to dispense their medication? It’s technically illegal for anyone but them to possess without a card, and so the shelter cannot hold it, leaving the patients with a choice about whether to eject the displaced or homeless, or forcing a patient to live without their prescription.

    The MMAR program is an incomplete mess as it stands and I agree that Health Canada should have as little to do with it as possible, except for maintaining Prairie Plant Systems or other commissioned grows. Patients need a safe supply that comes from a trusted source.

  42. MultiBaller on

    That’s great news. And it’s similar to the experience of someone else I know.

    They had to hop through hoops however; at one point, they had a Doctor who made excuses, the worst of which was that they had a stipulation in their rental agreement for their office that specified that they could not prescribe Medical Marijuana.

    Apparently landlords can tell doctors what they can and cannot prescribe. Or else it was a boldfaced lie.

    Eventually they managed to get a doctor to sign the forms and received their card within weeks, but the renewal too about six months. In the meantime Health Canada sent them a paper that extended their previous MMAR card, but they were technically expired for about three months.

    The good news is that the Police did generally leave him alone even with the expired card. It seems that the police understand how shaky the law is in the area of Marijuana prohibition, and its medical necessity is enough to bring it down.

    Interesting times.

  43. Eric on

    This great news!!!, I am stoked about this, I am just really confused as to what the law is now, and what impact this will have to Cannabis Laws in Canada, I look forward to following this story!!


    – Eric

  44. Spektrum on

    The mentioning of doctors as “gatekeepers” is important piece of this puzzle. Gatekeeper is exactly what they are, and in ways reaching beyond medical marijuana alone. They simply have too much power over our health and are quite frankly delivering very little as to actual benefit and relief for the patient. I myself am suffering from a chronic, mysterious illness, and have had my insurance coffers raided, but received nothing greater than an albuterol inhaler to deal with complex and debilitating symptoms. I hope to travel to Canada soon to obtain alternative therapies. The United States is the monster in the room…this Canadian Judge is a pioneer and hero. I hope the decision sticks and reaches other jurisdictions.

  45. Mystic on

    I just received my medical license in the mail. The first visit to my doctor wherein I mentioned my need for the prescription, he filled out the forms and signed them. Of course this was following years of CAT scans and other diagnosis from several experts (I have a spinal cord injury and arthritis). But, my experience with the system was very good overall. I think individual doctors need to be educated and encouraged as some seem to fear the possibility of rebuke and retribution from the ‘system’ for being involved. Having fought for the legalization of medicinal and recreational use for well over a decade, I think despite Harper and the neocons we have made significant progress and this ruling is another step in the right direction. Good work and keep it up. Unfortunately our publicity seeking and well intentioned activists for whom I have great respect – Marc of course, and others – continue to be persecuted. Your sacrifices are not in vain and the greater good is and will be served.

  46. Anonymous on

    i was very happy to hear this good news , especially at election time

  47. Brian Kerr on

    Great news. I’m not counting my chickens until I see hemp from sea to F ing sea and I can Grow My Own Weed. I hope some day soon, I can say good bye oil companies and the destroyers of the forests.

  48. Dirty Harry on

    Isn’t technically a violation of the charter of rights? I am not Canadian, but don’t you have a “Charter of Rights” and not a “Constitution”?
    May be just word play, but this ruling is a great thing for you. I wish you all the best with this. I want to visit Canada sometime in my life.

  49. Anonymous on

    Congratulations Matt and the rest of the community.

  50. Anonymous on

    Why should doctors even be able to say whether or not you can use Cannabis. If you have been diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions the doctor should not have a choice. If you say you want Cannabis and you qualify they should HAVE to fill out the form or provide a real good reason why not or be liable to an expensive lawsuit for depriving a person of needed medicine. After a few million dollar settlements they’ll start signing the forms real fast.

  51. Macassa420 on

    I,m going to celebrate this victory today. Thanks Matt ,and Marc Emery.I can,t wait for April 20th this month.Get out and protest the Harper government, until the election.Free Marc Emery.

  52. Multiballer on

    The judge was specific about Mernagh being exempt from the law over the next 90 days. That would seem to indicate that nobody else is. As far as I can tell,the law is still in effect for at least the next 90 days, and if the crown appeals, it will remain in effect until the appeal fails, gets dropped, or is withdrawn.

    We’re not there yet, but we once again find ourselves close.

  53. Multiballer on

    Bill S-10 died with the dissolution of parliament.

    As for the Cannabis cultivation and possession laws, they’re now on a 90-day timer (Parliament is not sitting, so it’s effectively a 60-day timer). In order to stop the clock, the crown will need to file an appeal, and that appeal will need to get accepted – not particularly difficult, but a process that needs to be dealt with all the same.

    During this 90 day period, the law is still in effect, but there’s also a chance that police will pass on busting small-time possessors – if it does go legal, it would be a waste of time chasing down offenders, since they’ll be theoretically legal as well.

    The judge has basically ruled that the problem is with Health Canada’s MMAR not having the force of law, nor a simple and accessible process to gain access to an exemption or a timely supply of cannabis. This is partially because there is little to no resources on which to base proper research or trials, and so Doctors are understandably reluctant to sign patients off on an “anecdotal cure-all”. The government, by not funding studies into the viability and effectiveness of cannabis as a medicine, has sabotaged the program, and therefore the law itself. By making this ruling, he could have set a precedent that applies to Ontario courts. If the appeal is escalated to the supreme court, and they agree, then the federal law will be shattered.

    I’m not a lawyer, but here’s what I think applies and what we need to know:
    First, this Defence MAY ONLY APPLY in cases where one can prove medical necessity. If the laws do get dropped, then it will apply universally in Ontario. If the Supreme Court accepts the ruling, it will apply across the country. But if they rule against the Ontario Superior Court’s finding, then we’re back to square one.

    Second, if the law falls, Parliament will need to go through the motions of introducing a new set of laws that prohibit the growth and possession of Cannabis. In order to be in compliance, these new laws would need to codify a process of gaining access to marijuana, which would be similar to you having a driver’s license – you need to have it, or you get in shit.

    Alternatively, once the government is formed, they could push a law through parliament that would amend the law to create a process for gaining legal access, essentially codifying the MMAR in law. But if the MMAR program isn’t maintained properly, the laws may once again be challenged and ripped out of the CDSA. For the government to properly comply with the requirements of the ruling, such amendments to the CDSA would need to get through faster than Bill S-10 did (S-10 was pretty much fast-tracked for months and still never made third reading in Parliament).

    That’s a lot of words; I hope some of them make sense :).

  54. Anonymous on

    I think this is amazing news. I have a question or two. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can respond; does it mean that harper (if voted in) could not inact the s-10 bill until the bill is modified or the issue is fixed with our current medical marijuana program? As probably everybody knows here he plans on pushing his “tough on crime” bills within 100 days. And does this mean it could bleed into other provinces? I know from experience, and a few other patients, the maritimes are no better in getting doctor notes for mmj.. Does it mean the quazi-legal status its had in previous years, decriminalization or full blown legalization?

  55. nomorecons on

    If you want the CONS out, get everyone out to vote, especially those who are between 18 and 34. The turn-out at the last election was less than 40% for that age group. Vote strategically for the candidate in your riding who is best placed to beat the CONS. Check out this site for endorsements- http://catch22campaign.ca/

  56. Anonymous on

    By my interpretation, Sections 4 and 7 are unconstitutional and therefore null and void, which means you don’t need a doctor for approval but can directly apply for a license from Health Canada until the feds come up with an alternative that is within the constitution, despite an appeal forthcoming by the federal government. This can take years to be heard at the Supreme Court of Canada, that’s why the ruling is so significant. Usually a law stands until all legal avenues are exhausted but not in this case. The judge made that clear. Betcha the cops won’t touch this with a ten foot pole.

  57. opinion8ted on

    That is a big step, now if we can get every one to vote and rid ourselves of the HARPER regime that will do every thing in its power to stop this. I see that the 90 days is after the elections so step up people and stop the theo cons from squashing all advances in this new and positive direction!

  58. Anonymous on

    The news seams to have been pulled from the main stream.

  59. Uncle-Viper on

    Matt, I think this qualifies you for the Cannabis Cup – Activist of the year.

  60. Anonymous on

    does this mean all marijuana laws are suspended until they make a new law or just the medical marijuana law?

  61. TheHouseCoatguy on

    lets hope they get it right this time.weed warriors STAY THE CORSE AND HOLD FAST

  62. Anonymous on



  63. Oleg on

    This screws Harper on his giant crime OMNIbus bill he has said he will ram through, if he cant get minimum mandatory sentences for potheads he will never have a chance at filling his new superprisons…

    I guess he’ll just have to criminalize jaywalking or something else innocuous, in order to fill his superprisions with bodies.

  64. kevin on

    Thank you Matt for fighting for all of us. I was beginning to think my doctor was taking kickbacks from drug companies because of her refusal to sign. Now I know she was just a victim of the governments bad regulations and planning. I have been on to many prescriptions for my pain and seziures that have left my stomach scarred, and bowels damaged. I have just refused to take them anymore and am feeling better and the marijuanha has controlled all my symptoms and releived me of alot of pain. I think drug companies are the number one opponent to any relax of medical marijuahna laws, Yahoo Matt Thanks

  65. ellis110 on

    GOOOO MATT! congratulation Matt you’ve won one for all of us and set precedence for several other cases. T-89 days 🙂

  66. Anonymous on

    omg amazing news!