Last week a federal judge in Canada struck down the country’s latest round (2013) of medical marijuana regulations, eliminating the ban on patients growing their medicine at home.
Judge Michael Phelan ruled that the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) “have no force and effect.” He also placed a 6-month suspension on his ruling designed to give the new Liberal Government time to come up with new rules for medical cannabis.
The Trudeau Government has also begun the process of legalizing recreational marijuana. This ruling could end up being a good opportunity for Canada to roll medical and recreational cannabis into one program. If this would be a good thing or not would remain to be seen, depending on how much influence the government itself had on the legal cannabis market.
In a perfect world, there would be no need for “medical marijuana” when it comes to adults. They would be able to grow or buy cannabis for any reason they want; after all, why is it anyone’s business? Maybe they have back pain or maybe they just want to blaze some blunts and play Call of Duty. What practical difference does it make to anyone else?
That’s what Canada could do: make legalization uniform among adults, no questions asked, and then create a smaller medical marijuana program for minors. This wouldn’t be easy; some medical patients make concentrates and edibles and therefore need to be able to grow more plants or be able to legally possess more than say, one ounce at a time. Severe restrictions could hurt medical patients more than recreational patients, which may end up being reason enough to keep the programs totally separate.
While it’s true that bigger limits should be available to recreational consumers as well, the new Canadian government is likely worried about excess legal cannabis making its way back to the black market and is under the delusion that some sort of restrictions on the recreational side can prevent this.
In any case, 2016 is sure to be a huge year for cannabis law reform in Canada.