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I recently travelled to Ottawa with Ted Smith and Dieter Macpherson and my partner Coco (see photo above) to attend the March 20th hearing in Supreme Court of Canada. This would be the climax of our 5 and a half year quest to declare the Canadian medical cannabis regulations unconstitutional. We were hosted by Kelly Coulter in the heart of downtown Ottawa, only a few blocks from parliament and the courthouse.

The night before the hearing, the MMAR Coalition hosted a benefit at a local Legion that was well attended by patients and advocates from Vancouver to Nova Scotia as well as a bus load from Toronto. It was a great pleasure to meet advocates from across the country, if only briefly. Many also attended the courthouse the following day.

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Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada is a formidable structure, fiercely stark from the outside, guarded by black metal statues of Truth and Justice. Inside, a large foyer boasts rare marble and finely carved wood. That morning it was full of medical cannabis advocates. The courtroom itself could only accommodate about 1/3 of the attendees who were otherwise able to view the proceedings from separate rooms in the building.

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RvSmith legal entourage

With John Conroy and the legal team from Allard accompanied by the lawyers for our interveners, there was a total of 11 black gowns sitting on my side of the aisle, 2 crown representatives sat for the government. I thought that the judges had a clear understanding of the issues raised by the previous courts as well as the difficulty they face in crafting an effective remedy. There is no set date for their decision.

The entire proceedings were broadcast live on CPAC and can now be viewed in the Supreme Court Archives. We will be digging through the footage to highlight some of the key moments of interest for Cannabis Digest blog readers. We will also be writing about this historical occasion for medical cannabis in the next issue of the Cannabis Digest Free Newspaper. If you would like to receive a bundle of newspapers please contact info@cannabisdigest.ca

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Ted Smith, Kirk Tousaw and Owen Smith

Kirk Tousaw and I appeared on CBC radio’s ‘Day 6’ after the hearing. Listen HERE

 

WATCH THE COMPLETE SUPREME COURT FOOTAGE HERE