Article by Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, CBC News
The marijuana industry is using an upcoming Supreme Court of Canada case dealing with cross-border alcohol limits as an opportunity to argue against provincial government monopoly distribution models for recreational marijuana once it’s legal.
If provincial restrictions are onerous, the existing illegal industry will “likely thrive,” Cannabis Culture warns in its application to be an intervener on behalf of 28 other corporations in the Crown appeal of a New Brunswick court’s decision to acquit a Tracadie man who exceeded provincial alcohol importation limits.
Gerard Comeau, a retired steelworker, was stopped by the RCMP in 2012 and fined $292.50 when he drove home with 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor from Quebec.
New Brunswick’s Liquor Control Act sets a personal importation limit of 12 pints of beer or one bottle of alcohol or wine.
But provincial court Judge Ronald LeBlanc ruled in April 2016 that the restriction on out-of-province alcohol was unconstitutional because Section 121 of the 1867 Constitution Act says products from any province “shall … be admitted free into each of the other provinces.”
Cannabis Culture supports the free movement of items between provinces, unrestrained by tariff barriers or non-tariff restrictions that make importing and exporting products difficult or costly.
It describes itself in its application to intervene as a cannabis media and advocacy company that operates cannabis lounges and operates or allows its trademarks to be used at cannabis dispensaries across Canada “in contravention of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as an act of civil disobedience.”
Owner Jodie Giesz-Ramsay, who is known professionally as Jodie Emery, is currently on bail after being charged earlier this year in connection with Project Gator, a massive crackdown on cannabis dispensaries in Ontario.
In a sworn affidavit, Giesz-Ramsay says she’s worried about the appeal’s possible legal and financial implications for marijuana dispensaries, licensed producers and mail-order distribution systems across the country.