Ontario court finds Canada medical marijuana laws unconstitutional

[JURIST] A judge for Ontario's Superior Court of Justice [official website] ruled Wednesday that the country's marijuana laws are unconstitutional. Justice David Taliano invalidated [Globe & Mail report] the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) [text], finding that the program's mechanisms for licensing patients to access medical marijuana [JURIST news archive] are insufficient. These inadequate licensing procedures led Taliano to also strike down portions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act [text] that criminalize marijuana growth and possession. The ruling cites systemic difficulties for patients seeking medical authorization, as doctors, many of whom lack proper training in prescribing the drug, are often hesitant to approve marijuana use for patients due to insufficient funding for clinical trials. Absent appeal, the government has 90 days to remedy MMAR's authorization processes, lest marijuana growth and use will be legal regardless of the purpose.

US Courts have also been forced to interpret medical marijuana statutes in recent years. In January 2010, the California Supreme Court [official website] overturned [JURIST report] a 2003 law limiting the amount of marijuana that may be possessed under the state's Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) [materials]. Earlier that month, New Jersey became the fourteenth US state [JURIST report] to legalize medical marijuana. In November, voters in Maine approved [JURIST report] an expansion of the state's existing medical marijuana laws, making Maine the fifth state to allow dispensaries, following California, Colorado, Rhode Island and New Mexico. California's Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled in 2008 that the MMP is not in conflict with the Supremacy Clause [JURIST report] and does not violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

 

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