Intervention in Cross-Border Beer Case Could Affect Plans for Provincial Cannabis Monopolies, says Jodie Emery

Will a Supreme Court of Canada case dealing with interprovincial alcohol import limits have implications for provinces that plan to monopolize legal cannabis? Jodie Emery thinks it might.

In 2012, Gerard Comeau was stopped by RCMP and fined almost $300 for carrying 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor from Quebec to his home province of New Brunswick. That amount exceeded the personal import limit of 12 pints of beer or one bottle of liquor set by New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act.

Last year, New Brunswick provincial court Judge Ronald LeBlanc ruled that the import limit was unconsitutional and acquitted Comeau based on Section 121 of the 1867 Constitution Act, which says that goods from any province “shall…be admitted free into each of the other provinces.”

Provincial prosecutors have taken their appeal to the highest court in Canada and say that if the acquittal is upheld, it could “redesign Canadian federalism” as we know it.

When the Canadian Constitution Foundation contacted Emery’s husband, Marc, asking for his support in the cross-border beer case a few months ago, they wondered how the appeal’s outcome might set legal precedent for interprovincial import and export of other products, like cannabis.

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