In a groundbreaking, unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that medical marijuana users are free to use the plant in any fashion that they feel is best for them. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association said that Canadians deserve personal autonomy in medical-making decisions, and the Canadian high court agreed.
The Supreme Court of Canada declared that the previous law, which limited medical marijuana use to smoking the plant, was a violation of health liberties. Using marijuana for baking, in a lozenge, topically, or in its oil form in any way was prohibited. The whole ruling was decided after Owen Smith of Victoria, who was working for a medical marijuana club earning between $10 and $13 an hour, was found with over 200 marijuana edibles by police and charged with possession of marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Lawyers for Mr. Smith argued that their client was providing a safer alternative to smoking marijuana. They said that Mr. Smith was providing medical marijuana edibles to medical marijuana patients in the form that was the safest and offered the most therapeutic value. Mr. Smith was acquitted after his 2009 arrest and later won an appeal, according to the Star. The case set the stage for the high-profile medical marijuana decision.
“The evidence amply supports the trial judge’s conclusions that inhaling marihuana can present health risks and that it is less effective for some conditions than administration of cannabis derivatives,” the high court in Canada ruled, according to MSN.
The BCCLA said in a legal document that justification of using marijuana edibles over smoking it should have never had to come up. It said that justification and popular consensus is never used to protect other freedoms such as religion, speech, or association, so it should not be used to withhold a person’s right to medical autonomy either.
“The court should not consider whether the choice is justified, rational or prudent, the product of mental illness or immaturity, or involves unmitigated risks.”
Though the Canadian government argued that Canadians’ rights protected by Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t grant Canadians the right to “to obtain or produce drugs based on a subjective belief in their therapeutic value, irrespective of medical need or lawfully available alternative treatments.” The Canadian government tried to claim that it had an absolute right to enforcing its own regulatory policies for medical marijuana users, including restricting its use to simply smoking the plant.
— BBC News US (@BBCNewsUS) June 11, 2015
Cannabis-infused cookies, brownies, and tea have all been consistently acclaimed as far safer and more therapeutic for many medical marijuana patients than smoking the plant.
Now, Sections 4 and 5 of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act in Canada, which was used to prohibit the possession and trafficking of non-dried forms of cannabis and justify Smith’s arrest, will no longer be in effect. The decision firmly upholds an earlier ruling in lower courts in British Columbia, which seemingly only the government had opposed, according to CBC News.
“It’s a positive — it’s a great thing for patients… and people who need extracts who can’t smoke their cannabis or don’t even want to in the first place,” David-George Oldham, founder of The ARC, declared about the medical marijuana victory.
The Health Minister, Rona Ambrose, is reportedly furious with the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling and made her frustrations abundantly clear at a press conference.
“Frankly, I’m outraged by the Supreme Court. Let’s remember, there’s only one authority in Canada that has the authority and the expertise to make a drug into a medicine and that’s Health Canada.”
— KING OSHY (@oshrilkal) June 11, 2015
The Supreme Court of Canada also made world headlines earlier this year when it ruled to allow doctor-assisted suicide if a consenting adult is facing an incurable and grievous condition.
What do you think of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on medical marijuana edibles?
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