FORMAL MEDIA RELEASE NOV 30TH 2013
FEDERAL CLASS ACTION LAUNCHED CHALLENGING
HEALTH CANADA’S CHANGES TO THE MEDICAL MARIHUANA LAWS
ON BEHALF OF PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
Class Action Suit alleges that the changes to the Medical Marihuana laws taking away the right to personally produce or have a caregiver do so, prohibiting dwelling house and outdoor production and limiting possession to “dried marihuana” only and other restrictions violate the constitutional rights of patients.
VANCOUVER (November 29, 2013) – A proposed national class action suit has been filed in the Federal Court of Canada in Vancouver against the Federal government (Health Canada) seeking various declarations as to the unconstitutionality of the proposed changes to the medical marihuana laws amending the Narcotic Control Regulations, repealing the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations and implementing the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
The representative proposed Class Action was commenced November 29th, 2013 by four representative Plaintiffs on behalf of all persons ordinarily resident in Canada who have been medically approved to use cannabis as medicine whether under the Narcotic Control Regulations, the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations or the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.
The action seeks constitutional declarations that all medically approved patients have the constitutional right to not only produce their medicine for themselves but if they are unable to do so, to have a caregiver do so for them, and to use Cannabis in any of its effective forms and not be limited to just “dried marihuana”. Also that patients or caregivers can continue to produce in a ‘dwelling house’ and outdoors and should not be limited in other proposed respects such as limiting the maximum amount that a patient can possess to 150 grams. The suit alleges that the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) are unconstitutional to the extent that they omit the right to continue to personally produce or have a caregiver do so and unreasonably limit the s.7 Charter constitutional rights of medically approved patients in the Narcotic Control Regulations, as in the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations and the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations by limiting possession, sale and provision to “dried marihuana” only, contrary to the decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court in R. v. Smith 2012 BCSC 544 (on appeal to the BCCA) as well as other aspects. Orders in the nature of interim and permanent exemption/injunctions will be sought to exempt individuals medically approved from the change in the law pending the hearing of this matter and thereafter or alternatively restraining and preserving the provisions of the MMAR until such time as the government makes appropriate amendments to ensure the full ambit and scope of the patient’s constitutional right is protected without any unreasonable, inconsistent and unnecessary restrictions.
Health Canada as of April 2013 authorized the production of 188,189 kilograms of cannabis marihuana to be produced under the MMAR under the various licences during 2012. As of November 1st there were only three licenced producers approved to produce and supply patients with cannabis marihuana. The MMPR repeals the MMAR personal production and designated grower provisions effective March 31st, 2014, a mere 4 months from now. It is anticipated that these licenced producers and any others that come into existence between now and March 31st, 2014 will not be able to produce a sufficient quantity to ensure that all of the approved patients have a safe continuous access and supply as of March 31st, 2014.
According to Health Canada as of July 15th, 2013, there were 35,445 persons authorized to possess cannabis for medical purposes in Canada broken down into 24,185 holding personal production licences, 4,251 holding designated grower licences and 6,027 accessing Health Canada’s supply through the government contractor Prairie Plant Systems. While 27,000 of the licences are issued to produce entirely indoors, 3,000 of them were issued to produce entirely outdoors and 2,670 to produce indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer. Producing outdoors is a substantial cost saver in terms of electricity and some 60-70% of the permit holders are indicated to be on disability pensions. The Plaintiffs say they will not be able to afford the estimated price of the medicine from the licenced producers created under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations as the sole producers. Most of those with personal production licences produce in their dwelling house as they cannot afford to rent space elsewhere, and they save substantially on electricity costs by partial outdoor production.
Consequently the Class seeks to maintain its ability of each of its members to produce for themselves or have a caregiver to produce for them or, if they can afford it, to purchase their medicine from a licenced producer and that to force patients to access their medicine at a price they cannot afford from only licenced producers does not constitute a “viable constitutional exemption” that ensures a reasonable safe and continuous supply of medicine for the patients. The Class also seeks to ensure access to juicing and other extracts by patients across the country and to maintain their ability to grow in a ‘dwelling house’ as well as outdoors, and to not be otherwise unreasonably limited in terms of possession.
All persons who have been medically approved in Canada for the possession and use of cannabis whether under the Narcotic Control Regulations, the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations as a patient and producer or more recently under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations are asked to go to www.johnconroy.com and click on the “MMAR” button and register by the completion of a victim impact statement so that we can assess whether or not to introduce your case and evidence into the action or email [email protected] to be added to the list of members of the Class wishing to participate in this Class Action.
For more information please contact:
JOHN W. CONROY, Q.C.
Conroy & Company
2459 Pauline Street
Abbotsford, BC V2S 3S1
MMAR PPL/DPL Coalition against Repeal
[email protected]Mobile: 604-562-7731
Face Book Coalition Group www.facebook.com/groups/406440576091519/
LinkedIn Coalition Group http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4714229&trk=hb_side_g
The Cannabis in Canada Society
Contact me on Skype Jason.Wilcox39