Article by The Canadian Press via Global News
As provinces begin drafting laws for the control and sale of cannabis on their territories, a case that the Supreme Court of Canada will hear in a few weeks threatens to derail their plans.
Ontario and Quebec, for instance, want to create provincial cannabis monopolies. As a consequence, Quebecers and Ontarians would be prohibited from mail-ordering recreational cannabis from licensed producers outside their home province or buying pot from anyone other than their provincial government.
But on Dec. 6, the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments in a case that could mean the end of state-run monopolies as they apply to another favourite Canadian vice: alcohol.
If the justices rule in favour of a New Brunswick man fighting against provincial liquor monopolies, the decision will almost certainly trigger lawsuits across the country seeking to dismantle similar government-run corporations for marijuana, according to legal and trade experts.
“It would mean big changes — a more free and fair cannabis industry,” said Jack Lloyd, one of the lawyers representing marijuana activists who received intervener status in the Supreme Court case.
The case began in 2012, when the RCMP arrested Gerard Comeau on his return to New Brunswick after he had bought alcohol in Quebec.
He was fined for violating New Brunswick law, which limits the amount of booze that can be brought into the province from elsewhere in Canada.
Comeau contested the ticket, arguing Sec. 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867, mandates that all Canadian goods be admitted freely across the country.
His lawyers argued the fathers of Confederation wanted a single market for all products made in Canada.