April 19, 2011

Canadian Government Will Appeal Court Ruling Striking Down Marijuana Laws

April 19, 2011
Oh Cannabis

By Jeremiah Vandermeer

The Government of Canada will appeal an Ontario court’s ruling that struck down the country’s marijuana laws as unconstitutional.

Matt Mernagh, the med-pot user at the center of a historic court battle over the country’s medical marijuana laws, says he has been served his notice of appeal in the case.

“I received a phone call from the Crown prosecutor today,” Mernagh told Cannabis Culture earlier this afternoon. “He offered his congratulations on the case and told me to get ready for the appeal.”

Mernagh was served with the appeal shortly afterward.

A tweet from posted on his Twitter account just afterwards read, “notice of appeal has just been handed to me wooooooo govt wants its ass handed to them again”.

In an April 12 ruling in the case of R. v. Mernagh, Ontario Superior Court Justice Donald Taliano found that Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) and “the prohibitions against the possession and production of cannabis (marihuana) contained in sections 4 and 7 respectively of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” are “constitutionally invalid and of no force and effect”.

The judge agreed with Mernagh, who had tried unsuccessfully for years to find a doctor who would sign his MMAR forms before being busted growing his own plants, that the medical marijuana program is inadequate for the needs of patients. The judge found that doctors’ “overwhelming refusal to participate in the medicinal marijuana program completely undermines the effectiveness of the program” and that “the requirement for a medical doctor’s declaration has rendered the MMAR unconstitutional”.

The Court struck down medical marijuana laws and the laws dealing with cannabis possession and production, giving the government 90 days to fix the program before the new rules come into effect.

The case will now go back to court on appeal. If the government wins, Mernagh says he will take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

“Our people have waited way too long for this,” he told CC last week. “This could very well be the final kick.”

If the government loses the appeal, it would likely be forced to make significant changes to the medical marijuana program.

“If the government is not successful on appeal,” lawyer Alan Young told the Toronto Star, “they are going to be caught between a rock and a hard place because they don’t have an alternative program in mind. They don’t have a plan B. They’re in trouble.”

Read more and watch video about the case on Cannabis Culture.

Matt Mernagh is a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture. Read his CC blog.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him onFacebook and Twitter.

Article From Cannabis Culture and used with special permission.


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