Ontario’s Court of Appeal overturned a lower court decision that had ruled the federal government’s current laws on access to cannabis for medicinal purposes violate Charter rights.
As interveners before the Court in R. v. Mernagh, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) are disappointed by today’s ruling, which rejected a constitutional challenge to the deficient Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR).
“Allowing the current regulations to stand unchanged will leave many people with serious health conditions without effective access to legal authorization to use cannabis as medicine, and this means they are exposed to the risk of criminal prosecution,” said Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. “People shouldn’t have to risk going to prison in order to get the medicine they need.
A significant number of people living with HIV have found cannabis is critical for managing illness, including dealing with appetite loss and wasting, nausea, pain, anxiety and depression.
“A proper regulatory scheme would ensure that people can get access to a physician or medical expert committee to make a decision on the medical merits of their case,” said Ryan Peck, Executive Director of the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO). “That’s what we proposed to the court, since the current regulations don’t do this and too many people are left in limbo.”
The News Release from the HIV Group Interveners contains more information:
- News Release-ENGLISH pdf (HIV Group Interveners): www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Marihuana_Medical_Access-OntCourtofAppeal-IntervenerNewsRelease-2013Feb1-ENG.pdf
- News Release-FRANÇAIS pdf (HIV Group Interveners): www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Marihuana_Medical_Access-OntCourtofAppeal-IntervenerNewsRelease-2013Feb1-FRA.pdf
Here are links to more information:
- Ontario Court of Appeal decision (Court website): www.ontariocourts.ca/decisions/2013/2013ONCA0067.htm or in pdf www.ontariocourts.ca/decisions/2013/2013ONCA0067.pdf
- HIV Group Intervener Factum on our website (legal arguments): www.halco.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Marihuana_Medical_Access-OntCourtofAppeal-HIV_Group_Factum.pdf
If you are living with HIV in Ontario, you can contact us for free legal advice about medical marihuana/marijuana and other legal issues.