VANCOUVER – The lawsuits challenging Ottawa’s attempted overhaul of the medical marijuana system continue to pile up, meaning the government will be forced to defend the new regulations in multiple courts as patients across the country claim they have a charter right to grow their own pot.
Hundreds of people have filed lawsuits in recent months in various courts, arguing new regulations that took effect in April restricting marijuana production to licensed commercial growers are unconstitutional.
Most of those cases have been delayed until the results of an ongoing Federal Court case, expected to be heard in February of next year, challenging the new regime. The judge in that case issued an injunction allowing many patients to continue growing at home in the meantime.
But three patients in B.C. say their circumstances are too different to simply wait for the existing Federal Court case to play out. Even the injunction in the earlier case, they say, doesn’t go far enough to meet their medical marijuana needs.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the men’s legal action can continue, even as the Federal Court hears similar arguments. The federal government had asked for the cases to be delayed.
“The plaintiffs are alleging that the medical marijuana laws interfere with their charter rights in a way that is deeply personal and which has grave impacts on their health,” Judge Susan Griffin wrote in a decision posted to the court’s website Tuesday.
Griffin said it would be “unjust” to make the three men wait for the Federal Court case, which involves different plaintiffs and a different set of facts.