Article by Mike Hager, The Globe and Mail
The federal government should use a court decision ordering it to rewrite the rules on medical marijuana as an opportunity to legalize the storefront sale of such medicine, experts and commercial growers say.
A Federal Court judge in British Columbia ruled earlier this week that patients have a right to grow their own medical marijuana, overturning regulations that forced them to purchase the drug through federally licensed producers.
Justice Michael Phelan gave the federal government six months to rewrite the current regulations.
But advocates say the government shouldn’t stop there.
During a celebratory news conference following Wednesday’s landmark ruling, John Conroy, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said the judge recognized that the ongoing explosion of illegal dispensaries across the country is a result of patients “voting with their feet” to ditch the current mail-order system regulated by Ottawa.
“The next fight is making sure the dispensaries are legal,” he said. “The great majority of patients would like to be able to go to something like that. And that needs to happen as the government needs to look at the [medical marijuana rules] and the [licensed producers] and the dispensaries and come up with a regime that takes all them into account.”