Canadian Government Will Appeal Court Ruling Striking Down Marijuana Laws

Matt Mernagh, the medical marijuana user who brought down Canada's marijuana laws.Matt Mernagh, the medical marijuana user who brought down Canada’s marijuana laws.CANNABIS CULTURE – The Government of Canada will appeal an Ontario court’s ruling that struck down the country’s marijuana laws as unconstitutional.

Matt Mernagh, the med-pot user at the center of a historic court battle over the country’s medical marijuana laws, says he has been served his notice of appeal in the case.

“I received a phone call from the Crown prosecutor today,” Mernagh told Cannabis Culture earlier this afternoon. “He offered his congratulations on the case and told me to get ready for the appeal.”

Mernagh was served with the appeal shortly afterward.

A tweet from posted on his Twitter account just afterwards read, “notice of appeal has just been handed to me wooooooo govt wants its ass handed to them again”.

In an April 12 ruling in the case of R. v. Mernagh, Ontario Superior Court 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 judge agreed with Mernagh, who had tried unsuccessfully for years to find a doctor who would sign his MMAR forms before being busted growing his own plants, that the medical marijuana program is inadequate for the needs of patients. 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”.

The Court struck down medical marijuana laws and the laws dealing with cannabis possession and production, giving the government 90 days to fix the program before the new rules come into effect.

The case will now go back to court on appeal. If the government wins, Mernagh says he will take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

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

If the government loses the appeal, it would likely be forced to make significant changes to the medical marijuana program.

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

Read more and watch video about the case on Cannabis Culture.

Matt Mernagh is a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture. Read his CC blog.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



  1. Anonymous on

    Wouldn’t this ruling technically make cannabis temporarily legal for Canada?? I mean if the government hasn’t fixed the unconstitutional program (MMAR) then its still unconstitutional… Plus if the judge ruled the possession and cultivation of cannabis laws in the CDSA as “of no force or effect” then wouldn’t that mean that there is no new appealed law that is constitutional because the exemption program itself is unconstitutional…???


  2. eddy gagnon on

    the perscribe oxicottent, percaccete, hydro-morph, and many other drugs like their nothing! when they can all get you hooked in notime! where as they dont want pot on the streets, but its the least addictave drug out their! im from simco county, and the highst crime around here has to deal with pot…… the tax payers are paying for the cops to run around and bother the kids, when most of them are to lazy to cause trouble when they get stoned! they should be lookingfor the people who are all coked out going around fuckin shit up! its a waste of the courts time to deal with the kids peddaling pot, and smokeing pot!

  3. Anonymous on

    Two Ontario judges challenging these laws in one decades’s time. It speaks something to me.

    It’s time to listen to the people and allow us our fundamental freedoms, and legal rights!

    —A Spiritual Toker—

  4. Anonymous on

    marijuana should be just as easy to get for somone in need as any other perscription… you have a problem that can b helped you get a prescription than you should b able to get the medicine… instead you must use the perscription as an aplication to c wether you are worthy of getting a green card… the perscription should be enouf just as it is with any other medicin… MARIJUANA ONCE WAS OVER 50% OF ALL MEDICINE UNTILL THEY STARTED MAKING CEMICAL MEDICINS TO REPLACE IT… THESE CHEMICAL MEDICINES DONT DO NEARLY AS GOOD A JOB HELPING THE PROBLEM AND THEY PRODUCE WAY MORE HORRIBLE AND UNHEALTHY SIDE EFFECTS…. MRIJUANA MUST BE UTILIZED AND RECOGNIZED FOR THE AMAZING PLANT IT IS … THE MOST HELPFULL NATURAL/RENUABLE RESOURCE KNOWN TO MAN… IT COULD JUST SAVE THE ENVIROMENT FROM ALL THE DESTRUCTIVE THINGS WE ARE DOING TODAY…. READ EMPERPR WEARS NO CLOTHES… PEACE

  5. Jerry from Texas on

    Any law that requires patients to reapply every year and patients are having to wait up to 1 yr. to get approved should be struck down…evan by their standerds 8-10 wks they expect is not an option when you need your meds. Would you let your doctor hold up your meds that long? Of course not, no way,HELL no. Reapplying every year is just a way to make it to much of a problem for patients as well as doctors.Come on goverment lets help the patients,geat real.

  6. Anonymous on

    The narrow minded right wing political ideology of Harper, and in turn demanded from the members of the Conservative Party would have the majority of voters to act like lemmings and jump off the cliff of political stupidity.

  7. foam on

    Hopefully hundreds of thousands turn out 420..Ottawa is getting the message

  8. Robin Hodgson on

    no wonder i losing faith in our government they couldn’t tell the trith to save there souls