Up in smoke: don’t get baked by baking (yet)
On Friday, March 20, 2015, B.C. lawyer Kirk Tousaw attended the Supreme Court of Canada to argue the encroachment of certain provisions of the Controlled Drugs & Substances Act on a person’s ability to consume medical cannabis.
As it stands, the only way in which medical marijuana can be legally consumed is through smoking or vaping. This posed a huge issue in 2009 for Mr. Owen Smith, a Victoria resident who baked cannabis-infused cookies and produced cannabis-infused cooking oils for members of the local Cannabis Buyers Club. Mr. Smith was charged with trafficking for his production of over 200 cookies and oils after a large volume of paraphernalia was found in his apartment. He was acquitted of all charges after the B.C Supreme Court ruled that the criteria within the annex of Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, part of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act governing rules of consumption, was indeed unconstitutional.
The B.C. Government appealed the ruling of the Supreme Court in the B.C. Court of Appeal. Unfortunately for the Fed’s, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision in a 2-1 split. Because of the split decision of the Court, the Government was automatically granted Leave to Appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada.
One of the main focuses of the pro-cannabis argument to allow for the consumption of edibles and the like, circles around the fact that not all marijuana users wish to be smoking day in and day out. For those suffering from conditions that include chronic pain or discomfort, the act of smoking can be unpleasant and can result in unwanted side effects. Aside from that, it also allows consumers to dose while being discreet (apparently not everyone loves the smell of freshly burned herb) which should satisfy roommates, neighbors, and landlords.
Furthermore, studies have suggested that edible marijuana products can leave you with a much more desirable high than you get with smoking. The effects also last much longer, which leads to users having to medicate on a less frequent basis.
We still do see people charged with criminal offences that are marijuana-related in Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs of Richmond, Surrey, and beyond. However, this is the first time that a medical marijuana matter of contention has made it to the Supreme Court of Canada. It is, without a doubt, going to be a landmark decision that will impact medical cannabis users, producers, and suppliers.