December 2014 NORML Canada Newsletter
Federal Government Loses Appeal to Prevent Medical Marijuana Patients from Growing Their Own Medicine
Back in March of 2014, a Federal Court judge in Vancouver granted an injunction to allow patients with a production license valid as of September 30, 2013 to continue to grow medicinal cannabis at home pending the outcome of a trial to be set at a later date. The new MMPR (Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations) rules introduced for medical marijuana patients, which tried to do away with personal production.
The federal government decided to appeal this injunction to prevent patients from growing their medicine, but the Federal Court of Appeal released a unanimous decision on Monday, December 15, 2014 upholding the injunction, which is a victory for the patients.
The old MMAR (Medical Marijuana Access Regulations) allowed for some patients to be licensed to produce medical marijuana for their own use or designate another person to produce it for them. The introduction of the MMPR has commercialized the supply of medical marijuana and has been seen as prohibitively expensive by some patients. The patients argue this violates their right to access important medicine.
A group of such patients committed to “saving their gardens” have joined efforts to form the MMAR DPL/PPL Coalition against Repeal, and they have sought the skilled legal representation of John Conroy Q.C, NORML Canadaís President, and Kirk Tousaw, NORML Canadaís BC Regional Director, to represent them in the matter.
For more information on Allard et al v. Canada, please visit: http://johnconroy.com/mmar.htm
For more information on the MMAR coalition against repeal, please visit: http://www.mmarcoalitionagainstrepeal.com
US Congress Ends Federal Ban on Medical Marijuana
The Justice Department will not receive funds from the federal government to raid medical marijuana establishments in the American states where medical marijuana is legal. The House passed a $1.013 trillion budget earlier this month and it omitted any funds to the Justice Department for the purposes of overriding state medical marijuana laws. An amendment was added to the spending bill which noted that “None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used Ö to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” Although the marijuana movement has been dormant at the federal level in the US the fact that the policy change made it through a House with a Republican majority is a clear indication of how the fight over drug laws has shifted. It appears the US is ready to relax its enforcement of federal marijuana laws on states where it is legal as a first step towards the more gradual process of total marijuana legalization.
US Virgin Islands Decriminalize Marijuana Possession
The US Virgin Islands have decriminalized marijuana possession of less than one ounce. Marijuana possession of less than ounce by an individual at least 18 years of age will be classified as a civil offence punishable by a $100 to $200 fine. Previously, possession of less than one ounce was a criminal matter punishable by up to one year in jail along with a criminal record.
In California Medical Marijuana Includes Concentrates
A state appellate court in Sacramento, California has ruled that concentrates must be included in the definition of medical marijuana. The unanimous three justice panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal overruled a trial decision that found a medical marijuana patient had violated his probation by possessing concentrates. Californiaís Compassionate Use Act defines marijuana as “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.”
Illinois To Allow Medical Marijuana For Kids
Illinois’ pending medical marijuana legislation will permit kids to access medical marijuana with permission from their parents and two doctors. The Illinois Department of Health has released guidelines which would permit anyone under 18 years of age to purchase medical marijuana through an adult caregiver with the aforementioned consent. The provision came about as a result of lobbying efforts from parents with children suffering from serious seizure disorders.
High CBD strains have made medical marijuana for children a more practical option. Illinois is not the first state to permit children to access medical marijuana. Illinois is expected to announce shortly 60 dispensaries and 21 cultivation centres which will receive licenses.
2014 Year in Review
Many can agree that a lot of good things happened this year as we slowly move towards legalization, both nationally and globally. A lot of momentum was created throughout 2014, and these stories in particular make us feel very optimistic for what is to come in 2015:
Uruguay Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Our January 2014 newsletter included a story on the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay commencing January 1, 2014, as well as its efforts on regulation and possible exporting opportunities. For more information, please visit: http://norml.ca/newsletter2014-01.php#four
A Great Victory in Federal Court for Medical Marijuana Patients in Canada In March 2014, medical marijuana patients in Canada received great news when Mr. Justice Manson of the Federal Court ordered that personal medical growing be kept alive on an interim basis pending trial. The new MMPR would have ended personal growing on March 31, 2014. Patients argued that the new MMPR does not provide reasonable access to medical marijuana and that they would suffer irreparable harm if they did not obtain interim relief pending trial. For more information, please visit: http://norml.ca/newsletter2014-03.php#four
Marc Emery Released on July 9, 2014 ñ The Overdue Return of the Prince of Pot Marc Emery, the Canadian cannabis activist extradited by the United States federal government for selling marijuana seeds to American customers, concluded his five year sentence in the United States in July of 2014 and is now back in Canada. For more information, please visit: http://norml.ca/newsletter2014-07.php#one
New York Becomes 23rd State to Legalize Medical Cannabis On July 5th, New York became the 23rd State to implement a medical marijuana program into law despite opposition from federal laws in the United States. Under this new law, smoking marijuana remains prohibited, however, alternative methods of consumption, such as vaporizing, ingesting edibles, or using tinctures, is allowed. For more information please visit: http://norml.ca/newsletter2014-07.php#two
Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Win Big On Election Day in the United States Voters in Alaska and Oregon have voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, while voters in Washington, D.C. have voted to decriminalize the possession of marijuana in the elections that took place on November 4, 2014. This means that there are now five states (or 10% of the United States) have legalized recreational marijuana: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit: http://norml.ca/newsletter2014-11.php#four