On March 21, 2014, a Federal Court in Vancouver granted an interlocutory injunction preventing the federal government from fully repealing the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (“MMAR”) as scheduled on March 31, 2014.
The applicants for the injunction claimed that if the MMAR were repealed, they would be forced to either buy more expensive medical marihuana from producers licenced under the new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (“MMPR”) or break the law by continuing to grow it themselves or having a designated person grow it for them. The applicants argued that the government’s action in making changes to the regulatory scheme for accessing medical marihuana was a breach of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”).
In granting the applicants’ request for interlocutory relief, the Court found that they had clearly demonstrated that if the MMAR were repealed, they would suffer irreparable harm caused by an inability to access medical marihuana at an affordable cost while the merits of their Charter claim is adjudicated. The harm in this case was found to outweigh the public interest in wholly maintaining the new regulations intended to increase the health, safety and security of the public. The Court did however limit the amount of medical marihuana a person may possess to 150 grams.
The Court’s order provides the following relief:
- Holders of an Authorization to Possess, Personal Use Production Licence or Designated Person Production Licence issued pursuant to the MMAR valid on September 30, 2013 or issued thereafter are exempt from repeal of the regulations on March 31, 2014. Licences remain valid regardless of the date of expiry shown on the licence until the underlying Charter claims are resolved.
- Holders of an Authorization to Possess issued pursuant to the MMAR valid on September 30, 2013 or issued thereafter may possess the amount permitted by the licence or 150 grams, whichever is less.
A full trial on the merits of the applicants’ Charter claims is expected to take place within the next 12 months.
Related Blog Posts: Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations: New Licensing Regime for Commercial Producers, Municipal Notification Requirements; Toronto - Medical Marihuana Production Facilities - Statutory Public Meeting