Smoking hot news this week: B.C.’s law has changed when it comes to how medical marijuana users choose to ingest their medicine — now, drinking and eating is also an option.
The B.C. Supreme Court ruled on Friday, April 13, that those with a Health Canada card can now legally eat pot cookies or drink THC tea rather than just smoke the drug, by striking the word “dry” from the legislation.
Justice Robert Johnston ruled that Health Canada’s Medical Marijuana Access Regulations unreasonably limited users to possessing only the dried form of pot, and that users should be able to choose “how to ingest the medicinal ingredients in the safest and most effective manner” and that the rules were unconstitutional.
The lengthy court case began in 2009, when Owen Smith, the hired baker of the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada, was arrested and charged for being in possession of illegal forms of THC — liquids and oils used for baking. Despite the change in law due to this trial within a trial, the case against Smith is still slated to go ahead because he may have provided pot products to non-authorized users.
Still, the victory that defence lawyer Kirk Tousaw called “a constitutional win” was felt around the province on Friday, and patients and members of the club gathered outside the court, some teary, to celebrate how far legislation has come.
“This, to me, is a great step we have made today,” says Cannabis Buyers’ Club head Ted Smith, who is not related to Owen. “We took THC away from the drug companies and put it back in the hands of those who need it most, and those who know how best to apply their medicine.”
Smith says there is still much work to be done, though — effective immediately, the change in wording allows card-carrying patients to be in possession of non-dried forms of THC, but that law does not yet apply to growers and those sell the drug. A trial is set for April 27 that may decide the fate of how the law is translated, but Smith and his crew will have little rest until the next court date on April 25, where they will offer evidence again for Owen Smith’s trial to show the therapeutic benefit of orally and topically applied THC.
“As far as I am concerned, until cannabis is readily available to the public as a whole, we will have to continue to fight. But this blew a big hole in the government’s program,” says Smith, who adds that this could have a significant ripple throughout the country. “While these types of decisions are not binding in other provinces, they can certainly be very persuasive. We have seen lower court decisions have incredible impact.” M