Canada patients can grow their own medical marijuana: court

Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:23pm EST
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By Julie Gordon

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A federal court judge in Vancouver on Wednesday ruled that medical marijuana patients have the Constitutional right to grow their own cannabis, striking down a ban introduced by Canada's previous Conservative government.

The court suspended its decision for six months to give Ottawa time to respond.

A group of British Columbia residents took Canada to court in 2013, arguing a new law requiring medical marijuana patients to buy cannabis from licensed producers, instead of growing their own, was unconstitutional.

They said marijuana grown under the government system was too expensive and did not allow them to control the strains and dosages of their treatment.

The then Conservative government, which overhauled its medical marijuana program in 2013, argued that its mail order system was safer for both the patient and other Canadians, who could be hurt by unsafe home-grow operations.

In his decision, Federal Court Judge Michael Phelan said restrictions imposed by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes law were arbitrary.

"The access restrictions did not prove to reduce risk to health and safety or to improve access to marihuana – the purported objectives of the regulation," he wrote.

In the election last October, the Liberals defeated the Conservatives. In Ottawa, new federal Health Minister Jane Philpott told reporters she would study the ruling.   Continued...

A fully budded marijuana plant ready for trimming is seen at the Botanacare marijuana store ahead of their grand opening on New Year's day in Northglenn, Colorado December 31, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking