CANNABIS CULTURE – The Federal Court of Appeal has shut down the Canadian government’s latest effort to deny medical marijuana patients the right to grow medicine at home.
“It’s fantastic news,” Kirk Tousaw, a lawyer for patients in the case, told Cannabis Culture after reading the decision. “The government’s attempt to undo the injunction has failed. The court has agreed with the trial court’s determination that patients who would’ve had their gardens taken away from them would suffer irreparable harm in the form of severe impoverishment if forced to buy medicine from one of the Licensed Producers. Therefore the injunction continues.”
After the government issued new medical marijuana regulations this year – which included the establishment of a commercial production scheme and a total ban of home growing – patients fought back in the courts, winning an injunction against the government’s ban.
The government appealed the court’s decision but has now lost its appeal.
“For people that qualify for the injunction,” Tousaw said, “it means they can keep growing until the trial. And more generally it means that the Court of Appeal agreed with the trial judges factual findings, or at least had no reason to overturn them. And those factual findings – about the economic hardship that people are going to suffer if forced to buy the medicine from license producers – are really critical to our success at trial. So in a way this gives us further confidence that we’re on the right track in terms of our arguments at trial.”
As well, judges sent the case back to the Federal Court trial level for clarification on an earlier decision affecting certain patients in the case and allowed a cross-appeal going forward.
A three-judge Federal Court of Appeal panel ruled:
The appeal is dismissed with costs and the cross-appeal is allowed without costs. The matter is remitted back to the judge for determination solely on the issue of the scope of the remedy, more particularly with respect to Ms. Beemish and Mr. Herbert, in accordance with the reasons.
Read the full judgment.
“Generally speaking this means that not a lot is going to change with the status quo between now and trial,” Tousaw said.
The trial is scheduled to begin February 23, 2015 and last three weeks.
Listen to the full interview with lawyer Kirk Tousaw about the latest decision: