NEWS

Medical marijuana ruling means 'patients are no longer criminals,' says lawyer

06/11/2015 04:42 EDT | Updated 06/11/2016 05:59 EDT
The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously ruled that medical marijuana users have the constitutional right to be able to consume edible medical marijuana products, such as cannabis oils, teas and brownies.

The ruling, which takes effect immediately, is already having an impact on those who rely on cannabis extracts and edibles to treat medical conditions.

"Last night, patients across Canada fell asleep as criminals for making cannabis tea with their otherwise lawfully possessed cannabis," said Kirk Tousaw, the B.C lawyer who argued for the federal government's ban to be removed. "This morning those patients are no longer criminals."

Tousaw represents Owen Smith, a Victoria man and pot baker for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, whose arrest in 2009 sparked the legal case.

Smith was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana.

A British Columbia trial judge initially acquitted him. A B.C. Appeal Court also ruled in Smith's favour

The federal government then appealed that decision to take his case to Canada's top court. Thursday's decision affirms Smith's acquittal. 

'Court case means the world to me'

Founder of the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club and good friend Ted Smith (no relation) is thrilled by the ruling, which he says will help many patients, including his girlfriend.

"On a personal level, this means that my girlfriend, who's been struggling with cancer for a couple of years now, doesn't have to worry that she's breaking the law as she's struggling to live," he said.

Smith says when the baker was originally charged, they both saw it as a chance to challenge the laws on marijuana.

"Many of our friends have been donating cannabis extracts to (my girlfriend) and if it weren't for this court case and those products, she'd be dead.

"This court case means the world to me."

To hear the full interview with lawyer Kirk Tousaw listen to the audio labelled Edible pot

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