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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN BC: B.C. Court Urged to Snuff Out Medical Pot Access Rules
Title:CN BC: B.C. Court Urged to Snuff Out Medical Pot Access Rules
Published On:2012-01-18
Source:Alberni Valley Times (CN BC)
Fetched On:2012-01-20 06:00:44

A Victoria man who was the head baker for the Cannabis Buyers' Club
of Canada has started a constitutional challenge against Health
Canada's medical-marijuana access regulations.

Owen Edward Smith, 29, was charged on Dec. 3, 2009, with possession
for the purpose of trafficking THC, one of the active ingredients in
marijuana. He is also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana.

Smith was charged two years ago after the manager of an apartment
building complained to police about a strong, offensive smell wafting
through the building. Police arrested Smith and obtained a search warrant.

They discovered the suite was being used as a bakery. Officers
recovered substantial quantities of cannabis-infused olive and
grapeseed oil, as well as pot cookies, destined for sale through the club.

Smith's trial began Monday in B.C. Supreme Court, but the case could
be thrown out before a jury hears it. Although Smith pleaded not
guilty to the charges, admissions of fact were entered into the court
record, in which he basically admits the essential elements of the offences.

However, the trial moved quickly into a voir dire - a trial within a
trial - to allow Smith's defence lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, to challenge
the validity of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act regarding marijuana.

Tousaw asked Justice Robert Johnston to enter a stay of proceedings,
arguing that marijuana is a reasonable choice for the patients and
members of the Cannabis Buyers' Club of Canada.

Tousaw also will argue that decisions of the Canadian government,
following a number of challenges over the past 10 years, have been in
contempt of the courts.

"The courts have said many times access to marijuana is a right
guaranteed by the Charter (of Rights and Freedoms) and that the
government ought to expand and open up the restrictions in its
current regime," Tousaw told media outside the Victoria courthouse.

"The government's response to that has been woefully inadequate."

Under the charter, Health Canada's medical-marijuana program is
unduly restrictive and constitutionally flawed, said Tousaw. People
authorized to use marijuana for medical reasons are allowed to
possess it only in dried form.

"Even an authorized person, under Health Canada's regime, is unable
to produce cannabis butter to make cookies to eat before bed, or when
they get up in the morning to deal with chronic pain," he said.
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