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Legalisation in Ontario looming

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Remember when this happened nationally a few years back?

Marijuana ruling lights path to legalization

Appeal of medical marijuana case pondered by Ottawa

The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 13, 2011 5:34 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 13, 2011 8:53 PM ET

An Ontario court ruling that could legalize the possession of marijuana in the province will be reviewed by the federal government, officials say.

"The government of Canada is reviewing the decision and will consider its options," Leslie Meerburg, spokeswoman for Health Canada, said Wednesday in an email.

Justice Donald Taliano gave Ottawa until July to fix the federal medical marijuana program or face the prospect of effectively legalizing possession and production of cannabis.

In a ruling released earlier this week, Taliano found the program to be unconstitutional because sick people cannot get access to medical marijuana through appropriate means and must resort to illegal actions such as growing their own supply.

As a result, ill people who should be able to get the drugs are branded as criminals, he said in the decision.

The St. Catharines justice declared the program to be invalid, as well as the laws prohibiting possession and production of cannabis, since they can be used to criminally charge medical users unable to get the drugs through legal avenues.

If left to stand, the decision — which takes effect in 90 days — would make possession and production of marijuana legal in Ontario, said Alan Young, a Toronto lawyer involved in several other challenges to Canada's cannabis law.

That would encourage judges in other provinces to strike down the law in their jurisdictions when confronted with similar cases, he said.

The matter would likely end up before the Supreme Court of Canada, which can rule on federal laws, he said.

"Health Canada has no Plan B," Young said Wednesday. "So the knee-jerk reaction will be to appeal" and fight vigorously to obtain a stay of judgment that would keep the law in place until the appeal is resolved, he said.

"This case is just exposing the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential litigation against the government of Canada, so they can defend this all they want by appealing, but they're not going to escape the onslaught," he added.

"It makes more sense to concede defeat, surrender and come up with something that really helps Canadians."

The judge's decision came in a criminal case involving Matthew Mernagh, 37, of St. Catharines, who suffers from fibromyalgia, scoliosis, seizures and depression.

Unable to find a doctor who would support his application for a medical marijuana licence, Mernagh began to grow his own and was eventually charged with producing the drug.

Taliano found that doctors across the country widely ignored Health Canada's medical marijuana program and refused to sign off on forms that allow sick people to legally obtain cannabis.

Mernagh's lawyer, Paul Lewin, said he's confident the decision will be upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, Mernagh has been granted an exemption that allows him to smoke and grow cannabis.

"I've already started sprouting seeds," he said.

Canada's medical marijuana program was created in 2000 after the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a Toronto man's right to smoke pot to alleviate his epileptic seizures.

In that case, the court gave Ottawa a year to change the law so that sick people could access the drugs they need, or see it struck down altogether.


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I'm a little confused by this article. Possession of cannabis is a criminal offence. Criminal laws are federal laws. But lawyer man says, "If left to stand, the decision — which takes effect in 90 days — would make possession and production of marijuana legal in Ontario." Can any of our more legal-oriented members explain to me how this ruling wouldn't make possession legal in the entire nation?

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Legislation of this sort also applies on a provincial level, as it has more to do with commerce than common law crime/harm, and while it would ultimately be dealt with on a federal level to be applied across the country this has to start somewhere.

If it's within one province then Provincial legislation applies. When it's between 2 provinces it's Federal.

If you're willing to do your homework and become responsible for yourself enough to become a free sovereign/free-man-on-the-land, then you wouldn't be held to the statutes that we have been led to perceive as laws anyhow. Good luck finding a notary public that's not a member of a law society to witness your documents if you're to go that route. Sincerely.

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Let's make it an election issue and then we can force people to compare the Liberal/NDP/Green ideas about decrim or whatever, against the vision of Harper's Conservatives where everyone caught with a flake of dope near them gets a full year in jail for their troubles... to make Canada safer?!?!?!?!?

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Don't we all suffer from depression of some sort? Its the way society is designed nowadays? Harper is going to pull every dirty trick in his book to stop this. Protecting big business profits is his method of madness (pharmy companies). Its so ridiculous really, allowing doctors to push oxys out there all the while trying to strenghten the prohibition. I really hope the young people get out and vote and stop letting farmers and big business decide our government.

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everyone, and i mean everyone, should apply for their card! tell your doc you have arthritis or severe back pain. your doc has to go on what you say! if you say you are in pain, then you are in pain. they must believe your word. tell your doc, you hate perscription drugs, and refuse to use them. whatever it takes. there are forms out there, that release the doc of all liabilities. there is no reason a doctor should refuse you. if he/she does, move on. any doc that thinks MJ is worse than oxy, is not the kind of doc i want anyways! it is our right to self medicate, with whatever works, whether our doc believes its safe or not. remember, we are paying the doc's, and we have the right to switch them at any time. everyone has a disability, whether minor or not, that can be helped with a little THC, CBN or CBD's. apply for your card today, before they make it hard to get one. ive never heard of anyone being refused there card, as long as they have a doc fill out the paperwork. there are many docs out there that will sign this paperwork, but sadly you must hunt to find one. and when you do this, dont fall into the govt suggested usage of 3 grams/day. ask for more. i believe you can get 5 g's/day, after that i think you may have to seek out a specialist to explain why you need more. i met a guy who had something like 135g's/day, becuse he made hemp drinks to kill his pain. he had a growers permit and if you do the math, he was allowed to have over 650 plants growing at once!!!( 5gm's/day=25 plants) i know that is a bit extreme, but you get my drift. EVERYONE can have one of these if they just try. i dont know how easy it is to get a grow permit, but from what i see, it should be just as easy. as far as a criminal record check, i think it only applies if you are a grower for someone else, then you must have a clean record( i think). so what im saying is, "what do you have to lose?" apply and see what happens. just be prepared to wait for about 8-10 mos. renewals are much faster.

ps-i was going to court for a personal grow while i was applying for and recieving my card! actually my charges were dropped after i got my card. i thank my lawyer because i would have never applied for this if my lawyer didnt suggest it.i had to switch my family doctor of 20 years, but he was a pill pushing senior citizen, who thought pot was the devils juice, anyways. i was allways against getting my card, cause i figured "the man" would be watching me all the time! well, its been over 5 years now, and its one of the best things to ever happen to me!! i suggest to anyone who smokes, just apply if you can. what do you have to lose?

i have a spine that is deformed from birth and severe arthritis throughout my back. there are many illnesses you can have that require pain relief, but ive heard back pain is the easiest, cause they cant prove wether you are in severe pain or not. if you say it hurts, it HURTS!!!! that is what a doctor is to believe. if you say i dont want conventional medicine, then they have to suggest something else. remember, ITS YOUR BODY!!!!

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