CANADA: Giving Medical Marijuana a New ‘Broader’ Definition

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 9.38.09 AMIt was only a matter of time.

The Supreme Court of Canada says medical marijuana users should not have to be restricted to just dried forms of the drug.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court medical user of the drug should be allowed to consume other cannabis products including teas, baked goods and topical ointments.

Doctor-prescribed marijuana can currently only be offered in dried form; any other form could lead to charges under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Medical marijuana advocates argued that for many patients, including the elderly, baked goods and cannabis extracts are the only reasonable method of ingestion.

The Supreme Court agreed that the current rules prevent people with a legitimate need for the drug from choosing their method of ingestion and that it was unreasonable to require users to smoke dried marijuana.

“Inhaling marihuana (sic) can present health risks and is less effective for some conditions than administration of cannabis derivatives,” the court said.

The case began in 2009, with the arrest of Owen Smith, the former head baker for the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada. He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and possession for the purpose of trafficking, after police found large amounts of cannabis-infused olive oil and cookies in his apartment.

Smith challenged those laws, arguing that medical marijuana users should have the right to consume marijuana in other ways than smoking. The court agreed and Smith was acquitted at trial.

Last summer, the B.C. Appeal Court upheld that decision, and gave the federal government a year to change the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations to remove the word “dried” from its definition of marijuana.

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