On May 26, 2016, the City of Toronto by-law enforcement officers laid charges against 79 medical marihuana dispensaries for zoning by-law contraventions, pursuant to Section 67 of the Planning Act
Courts considering the issue of medical marihuana have affirmed many times since 2001 that reasonable access to medical marihuana for those in need is a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) right. Efforts by the government to restrict access, with the stated objective of protecting health and safety, have repeatedly been struck down by courts as unjustified infringements on Charter rights.
As municipalities take action to enforce zoning by-laws in regard to medical marihuana dispensaries, they may find their actions subject to Charter challenges in regard to restriction of access.
Peter Gross, lawyer at Wood Bull, has written an article, originally published for the Ontario Bar Association Municipal Law Section, discussing the Charter
challenges. The full article is available here