The Crown has until this Thursday to decide if it will appeal Justice Michael Phelan’s ruling on the Allard case, but lawyer John Conroy said he won’t wait to try and expand access to thousands of medical patients across the country.
Conroy said, while he’s not sure what the government will do in regards to an appeal, the situation has changed from when the court case began.
“It’s a different government than the one that initiated this whole thing and it’s a government that’s said they’re wanting to legalize,” said Conroy. “So our inclination is to think that they might not appeal – but you never know.”
Conroy said there’s also the chance that, regardless of an appeal, the government may still try to push back the six month window they’ve been given to rewrite their regulations.
“Hopefully we’re in a situation where they’re working on drafting the new regulations and can, at least, do so quickly with respect to people who were previously covered so there’s a new program in place,” Conroy said.
Appeal or not, Conroy will be back in court Apr. 22 requesting that those MMAR patients who had their licenses, but weren’t covered by the original injunction, have their right to grow returned to them.
Conroy said, based on government statistics, there are around 10,000 MMAR patients who had their licenses expire before a court injunction allowed patients to maintain their personal grow under the old rules.
“We’ve got patients who’ve been doing without, or have had to go to LPs or dispensaries who can’t really afford it, who need to be able to get back to producing for themselves,” he said. “You’ve still got all of these people whose constitutional rights are being violated. We’re going to ask him to cover everybody who was in the database in 2013.”
Conroy said there’s no reason that, after the request is made, MMAR patients won’t be able to begin growing again immediately, as the government already has the database of all patients under the old regulations.
Also being requested at the April court hearing is a provision for patients to move their grow site.
Since the MMAR began, Conroy said license holders have had to move for a variety of reasons overt the years, including marragie, divorces, landlords giving notice or natural disaster, but once patients leave the address listed on their license, they are in violation of regulations.
“The office of medicinal cannabis at Health Canada keeps track of calls from the police and they dig up information for police on all these licenses, so we don’t know why they can’t simply keep track of a new address – so we don’t have people who end up getting warrants executed simply because they had to move,” Conroy said.
The main issue for authorities is being able to verify what is an isn’t a legal grow, Conroy said, and, as long as they have an address, it should satisfy regulations.
With the framework of the MMAR already in existence to work off of, Conroy said the government shouldn’t need too much time to prepare the changes to the MMPR required by the Allard decision.
“They’ve got six months to revise the regulations which, as the courts said, shouldn’t take that long – it’s not as if they have to go back to Parliament,” said Conroy.