Article by Dr. Shane Morris, Lift
According to Health Minister Jane Philpott, in less than 30 days (by August 24th next), amendments to the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations(MMPR) will be made in response to the Federal Court’s Allard ruling that upheld patients’ rights to grow their own medical marijuana.
Such amendments could have far reaching impacts on patient access, increased diversion risk, local law enforcement requirements, licenced producers and their clients. They will also likely muddy the water even more regarding cannabis legalization.
As a result, any proposed amendments to MMPR would benefit greatly from public and stakeholder consultation. In addition, good regulation making relies on good consultation as taking ideas and input from those impacted by a regulation in a transparent manner can improve the final regulation and ensure a democratic process – put simply, as Prime Minister Trudeau has said, “open government is good government”.
It now seems that there would be no meaningful public consultation on the amendments to the MMPR in advance of the August 24 deadline set by the Minister.
The lack of consultation, openness and transparency on the forthcoming amendments to the MMPR carries a number of risks for the Government. It may alienate and confuse the public, including those who made the legal challenge to the MMPR that the Allard decision was based on.
It will potentially impact over 40,000 registered medical marijuana patients being served by the current MMPR. It will affect 34 currently licenced producers of medical marijuana and impact the business plans of over 416 groups who have submitted applications to become a licenced producer. Finally, it will open the Crown to legal challenge from at least one licence applicant who is an Aboriginal group and thus has special rights to meaningful consultation protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.