(image of Ted Smith, Owen Smith and Kirk Tousaw from Times Colonist)
It has been almost 5 years since I was arrested as the baker of the Cannabis Buyers Club in Victoria. It has been over two years since we won in the BC Supreme Court, removing the restriction to “dried marihuana” for patients who are authorized to possess cannabis in BC. Today, the BC Court of Appeal delivered their decision on my constitutional challenge to legalize cannabis extracts for patients. They voted 2-1 in my favour, sending a message to parliament that the cannabis laws need to be redefined within a year; and to patients that in the meantime it is within their constitutional rights to produce extracted products from the plants bulk to better suit their particular conditions.
(Timeline of the Owen Smith VCBC Bakery Trial)
The majority ruled that: “a person of reasonable sensibility would find the restriction to dried marijuana to have a serious and profound effect on their physical and psychological integrity.”
“Where the state interferes with an individual’s capacity to make decisions concerning the management of those health problems by threat of criminal sanction, the state is depriving that individual of the power to make fundamental personal choices”
concluding that: “the limitation in the MMARs is of no force and effect under s. 52 of the Charter to the extent that a person who has been granted an ATP is permitted to possess only dried marijuana.”
This decision was about patients having the dignity to take care of their own health. Licensed Producers will have to wait for the government to create new regulations and lobby while patients can now make better medicine from whatever they can access. This decision validates dispensaries who offer these products to their members. At the V-CBC, the club that launched this challenge, they are inexpensive, diverse and organized to guide patients toward an effective dosage plan. The court suggested that “Presumably the behaviour of the VCBC can be regulated in ways that do not infringe the rights of seriously ill Canadians.”
If you are still growing your own plants under the MMAR Coalition injunction, you have access to your own trim you can make affordable edible products by cooking it into a vegetable oil or reducing it safely into a concentrate. Patients of the MMPR Licensed Producers will not be able to purchase extracted products, however they may now make edible products from the dried marijuana that they legally purchase.
I read from a patient on the rollitup forum that the Licensed Producer Mettrum has offered to sell their trim at a reduced price “for those who want a prepared product” which made many patients upset as trim is often not considered suitable for inhalation and discarded if not transformed into edible products, which up until now was prohibited. Buying dried trim with low medicinal content doesn’t seem possible as the MMPR regulations limit patients to a maximum of 150 grams per month.
It is counterintuitive that while it is now legal to make an extract in your own kitchen, it is still illegal to pay a company with sophisticated, analytical equipment to do it for you. My lawyer Kirk related that “If my grandma wants to use medical cannabis to deal with arthritis pain, I think she should be entitled to go and purchase it from someone who can say, ‘Look, eat half a cookie and you’re ingesting 14 mg of THC, … Then she can know for herself what the appropriate dosage is.” (source)
(Kirk Tousaw lookin’ sharp)
The decision is binding on trial level courts across Canada, persuasive on provincial appellate courts. If there is an appeal launched by either side, the issue could reach the highest court in the country, the Supreme Court of Canada. There are other cases that are also headed to Canada’s top court, including the MMAR Coalition’s injunction, where the case for legal extracts will be made again.
It is now safe to make healthy, nourishing, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, sugar free, vitamin enriched, wholesome, medicinal cannabis cookies if you’ve got a license to possess, you could also make smores or something really delicious like ice cream but only on your birthday 😛 just kidding.
I am very thankful for the patient witnesses and the expert witnesses and our lawyer Kirk Tousaw and quarterback Ted Smith, all the patients, caregivers, supporters and ultimately for the gifts that this tremendous plant offers humanity. I am glad the two female judges had the reasonable sensibility to see the unjustified interference with patients dignity, independence and autonomy to make decisions concerning the management of their health problems.