There may be an increase in DIY greenhouses in the coming months as the federal court cuts into current medical marijuana laws.
With permission from Health Canada and doctors, patients who suffer from chronic pain, nausea and lack of appetite due to afflictions like cancer or AIDS, can puff on some state-sponsored ganja.
Like any drug, there are side effects, however the benefits of medicinal use is undisputed, according to the Federal Court Decision.
Though there are already a small percentage of medicinal users that are able to grow their own pot, federal law has largely frowned on these legal grow ops. But recently these laws have been struck down in a somewhat surprising court ruling.
Judge Michael Phelan rules that current restrictions on homegrown medicinal pot contradicted Charter rights. However, the judge put this decision on hold for six months so the federal government could tidy up laws to prepare for the changes. This decision has no effect on the current push to legalize recreational toking.
Why is this such a controversial decision? The court minutes described the back-and-forth debate as so intense that it resembled a “religious fervour” — forcing the court to take an extra skeptical and careful stance.
The opponents to the court decision offered potential issues including fire hazards, health hazards, risks of home invasion, possibilities of mould infections, or feeding marijuana back into the black market.
However, other issues arose in 2013, when the conservative government passed the “Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations” working to ban homegrown pot in favor of standardized, licenced producers.
These regulations created an increased financial burden on patients who were unable to afford purchasing medication from licensed producers — resulting in some patients breaking the law to protect their supply of medicine.
This is particularly importantfor students, traditionally in constant economic turmoil, who might be taking advantage of medicinal marijuana.
The opportunity for students to grow their own medicine could be an enormous financial relief.
The court did a great job of balancing the negative and positive repercussions of such a decision with a regard for overall public health.
This new system will leave the choice of how patients procure their medicine up to the patients. However, when the six month hold on the Federal Court decision expires, it’s uncertain how any of this will play out.
It’s worth noting that just because patients will now have a choice to grow their own plants, this doesn’t mean they will necessarily choose to grow it. The process of growing marijuana for regular use is work intensive and requires extensive knowledge of gardening and horticulture.
The legality of homegrown medical marijuana shouldn’t hinge on the religious, political or cultural opinions of others. This decision needs to consider scientific and medical dimensions, as well as important socio-economic dimensions.
While these legal issues hang in limbo for the next six months — sick patients, many who can’t afford regular medication, wait for legal inclusion in an overly restricted system.
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