Ontario Court to Release Judgment in Pivotal ‘R. v. Mernagh’ Marijuana Case

CANNABIS CULTURE – A ruling that could have wide-ranging implications for Canada’s marijuana laws will be handed down tomorrow by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The court has issued a Notice of Release of Judgment in the case of R. v. Mernagh, to be posted on February 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

The case centers on medical marijuana grower and activist (and Cannabis Culture contributor) Matt Mernagh, who was arrested by St. Catharines police in April, 2008 for growing pot to relieve his fibromyalgia, scoliosis, epilepsy and related seizures.

Mernagh had attempted, unsuccessfully, for years to convince a doctor to sign Health Canada papers allowing him legal access to medical marijuana. Mernagh and his lawyer argued that Canada’s medical marijuana laws do not work due to doctors’ lack of participation, and the judge agreed.

In a groundbreaking decision, 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”.

That judgment effectively struck down Canada’s laws prohibiting the possession and production of marijuana, but this decision is now on hold due to a government appeal of the case.

The court held and concluded appeal hearings in May, 2012, but the three judges deciding the case have been sitting on their decision ever since.

Mernagh faces a possible jail sentence if the court finds in favor of the government. However, if the court decides in Mernagh’s favor, it could mean the end – at least temporarily – of Canada’s prohibition on marijuana possession and cultivation.

Watch Matt Mernagh discuss the fallout of the ruling on a special broadcast of Cannabis Culture News LIVE, tomorrow at 4PM PT on Pot TV.

UPDATE: Listen to Matt Mernagh talking about the release of the judgment in his case in a clip recorded today.