Justice Phelan declared the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, installed by the previous Conservative government to replace the MMAR program, “of no force and effect” but has ordered that this declaration be suspended until a new framework for patients can be developed.
Phelan concluded that medical cannabis patients have had their Charter rights infringed on by the MMPR and that “such infringement is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice or otherwise justified.”
“The criminalization of the conduct is far too extreme of a response,” Phelan said, listing negative effects of the law on patients including turing them into criminals, removing their medical decision making abilities, forced ingestion of inhaled cannabis due to restricting all other forms, and “forcing some patients to choose between an adequate supply of medicine and institutionalized poverty.”
The plaintiffs showed “that those who are unable to afford LP prices will continue to be placed in a position where they have to choose between their liberty and their health.”
Phelan did side with the crown, however, to maintain a 150 gram possession limit for patients.
“Although the Plaintiffs may have to purchase their marihuana more frequently and restrict the number of days they travel or transport the drug because of this restriction … it reduces the implied risk of theft, violence and diversion for which there has been no substantial or persuasive evidence,” the judge wrote in his decision.
Phelan said it would not be “feasible nor appropriate to order the Defendant to reinstate the MMAR” and that completely throwing out the MMPR “merely leaves a legislative gap where possession of marihuana continues as a criminal offence,” deciding that the best solution is to suspend his declaration that the MMPR is invalid and “permit Canada to enact a new or parallel medical marihuana regime.”
Lawyer Kirk Tousaw tweeted that even through the MMPR was found invalid, the current injunction protecting MMAR patients will not be expanded from its current form, though it will continue for those growers and patients already under its protection.
Tousaw said that with the decision, authorities have “no good basis now to bust/prosecute.”
#MMPR invalid. 6 month suspension. Back to LPC and PM to fix it. Injunction continues though unfortunately not expanded. More to come.
The justice concluded his findings in the 107-page-report by saying “the Plaintiffs have been successful and have brought a case that benefits the public at large.”
Phelan’s decision affects over 30,000 medical cannabis patients licensed under the government’s Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), which was replaced by the previous Conservative government’s licensed cannabis producer system.
It’s expected that the crown will launch an appeal.
Conroy will hold a press event later this afternoon to discuss what the decision means.