Article by Neil Bowen, Sarnia Observer
A guilty plea to possession of medical marijuana was rejected by one Sarnia judge but accepted by another when the accused man admitted additional facts.
In August, Anthony Francis Barr, 27, of St. Clair Township pleaded guilty to his April marijuana possession as well as impaired driving due to marijuana use.
At that time, Justice Mark Hornblower said he had to be satisfied about a unique point of law before accepting Barr’s guilty plea. The issue was whether use of medical marijuana in a crime makes the possession a crime.
It was believed to be the first time in Canada the issue had been raised.
Wednesday, Hornblower said the possession was lawful and smoking it in his vehicle after leaving work does not make Barr’s possession unlawful.
In his ruling, Hornblower cited a Supreme Court decision that stated there was no reason possession of items cannot become unlawful when involved in a crime. That case referred to use of a credit card becoming unlawful possession.
But in that case the person never had lawful possession of the card, while Barr had lawful possession of marijuana, Hornblower said.
Hornblower rejected Barr’s guilty plea — but federal prosecutor Michael Robb called for a trial of the issue.
There was an issue regarding whether Barr had unlawfully obtained the marijuana. Regulations require medical marijuana to be kept in a bag labeled by the supplier.