A federal court judge in Canada has dismissed regulations imposed by the previous Conservative government that ban medical marijuana users from growing their own cannabis, referring to it as "arbitrary and overbroad". The court has given the new government six months to create a new set of rules in relation to growing one's own supply.
On 24 February, Judge Michael Phelan ruled in Vancouver that the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations were an infringement on charter rights and declared they have no force and effect. A group of British Columbia residents had filed a case against the government in 2013, challenging the ban, calling it unconstitutional and said that the law forced them to buy marijuana at more expensive prices with limited control on the quality of product.
In his closing statement, Judge Phelan wrote, ""The access restrictions did not prove to reduce risk to health and safety or to improve access to marijuana – the purported objectives of the regulation. Their lives have been adversely impacted by the imposition of the relatively new regime to control the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
"I agree that the plaintiffs have . . . demonstrated that cannabis can be produced safely and securely with limited risk to public safety and consistently with the promotion of public health."
He, however, stated that they ruling in the case had no application to the law that makes recreational use of marijuana illegal. The government now has time to appeal the verdict and Health Minister Jane Philpott said it was too early to know their decision and that she would be working with the Justice Department to ensure there's an appropriate regulatory regime in place.
"We're going to have to completely review the regulations around access to medical marijuana," she told reporters in Ottawa.
The federal court's decision has already taken its toll on the stock value of marijuana producing companies that are now worried about the government shutting down the licenced-producer system entirely.
However, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, John Conroy pointed out that the ruling only applied to the 28,000 Canadians, who already possessed proper licences and for now, does not take into consideration those who grow the plant without the required paperwork.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pledged during his electoral campaign to regulate and legalise marijuana in the country.