CANNABIS CULTURE – A BC Supreme Court Justice on Friday followed his decision in the Owen Smith trial, handed down April 13, by denying an application by the crown to maintain the status quo and thereby allowing designated medical marijuana growers in BC to produce and sell cannabis extracts to their patients.
Last year, Justice Johnson ruled that the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations were unconstitutional because they did not allow patients to make derivatives of the product without breaking the law. However, he gave the government one year to create regulations to control the sale of these products by licenced suppliers. With that year over, Justice Johnson determined the government was not stalling to adjust the regulations to accommodate his decision but only wanted to delay until the appeal, and so he finally allowed DGs to make derivatives for their patients.
The case will be heard before the BC Court of Appeal on Oct 17. Lawyer Kirk Tousaw is keen to see the case go all of the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, partly so the decision is fully binding across the country. In the trial, expert witness Dr. David Pate did an excellent job explaining to the judge how the worst possible side effect from a cannabis overdose is sleep.
Owen was arrested in a downtown Victoria apartment making food and skin products for members of the Cannabis Buyers Clubs of Canada. He was charged with possession for the purposes of trafficking THC, the most active chemical in the cannabis plant. That charge was dropped in January when the crown determined that a jury trial was not likely to convict him.
The MMAR, and the proposed Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, only authorizes patients to use dried marijuana. Before the decision last year, patients and their caregivers that made butter, hash, tincture, tea, honey oil or any other product that extracted the cannabinoids from the plant material, could be charged with a criminal offense, even if they bought the herb from the government.
Synthetic THC is available on the market, sold in Canada at approximately $8 per pill. In its written submission, the crown claimed another reason for Justice Johnson to maintain the status quo was to protect the financial investments made by companies that have put cannabinoid drugs on the market. Many patients claim using whole-plant cannabis products helps more than the synthetic derivatives. The monopoly on cannabis-based medicines has been broken.
After the court decision last year, police informed the Canada Revenue Agency that CBC of C founder, Ted Smith, no relation to Owen, was not collecting HST or employee deductions. The CRA eventually handed him a bill for about ¼ million dollars, forcing him to declare bankruptcy and sell the operation to a newly formed non-profit society, the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club. Ted is now solely employed by the International Hempology 101 Society and is the author of HEMPOLOGY 101: The History and Uses of Cannabis Sativa.
Read more about the case in the Victoria Times Colonist