Saturday, July 14, 2007

Medical Marijuana as Trojan Hoarse

The government of Canada has not appealed the Ontario Appeals decision (Parker) to the Supreme Court of Canada. “The choice of medication to alleviate the effects of an illness with life-threatening consequences is a decision of fundamental personal importance. Forcing Parker to choose between his health and imprisonment violates his right to liberty and security of the person." The federal government has also not appealed October 2003 Ontario Appeals court decision that not only reaffirmed that Canadians have a right to use marijuana if they need it for medical reasons but in addition ruled that "Exposing these individuals to the risks [of the black market] does not advance the objective of public health and safety”. (The Professor Young/ Barbara Budd interview provides a good summary of the issues involved. ) In other words, the Canadians who need medical marijuana should not be forced to go to the black market to obtain it. It must be made available through legal channels. In both cases the courts gave the government time make the necessary legal changes. Both times they have failed. This most recent decision is strike three.

The federal government, rightly in my mind, sees the medical marijuana decisions as Trojan horse and so has continually dragged its feet. What they fail to recognize though is just how this Trojan horse works. They believe that the medical marijuana rulings will give traffickers a leg up and it does. The sick are not the only ones benefiting from the compassion clubs. However, in continuing to fight the rulings in a passive aggressive manner the Federal government undermines the legitimacy of Canada’s marijuana laws in the eyes of the public. The Canadian public sees the government get its fingers wrapped every three years by the courts and this enforces the Canada public’s belief that when it comes to marijuana the government is not being frank or fair. The court cases also bring the issue to the public’s attention and this reminds them of how little they think of the stated rationals for Canada’s marijuana laws in the first place.

So what are Stephen Harper’s options to nip the situation in the bud? He has but one. He can appeal the Parker decision to the Supreme Court. The problem for Harper is that he would likely loose and the political costs would be enormous. Canadians favor access to medical marijuana by a huge margin.

1 comment:

jim bender said...

I agree.
As a representative of the federal marijuana party(no, not the party of marc emery..we do not agree with his rash and loose decisions...)we endorse the unfettered access to medical marijuana, as well as the outright legalization of the herb.
There is no justice in prohibition, and as long as we treat addiction like a crime, we will never better our communities or the people who live in them.
Taxing pot is a good idea. Removing pot from the criminals that control it is a better idea.
We can make these changes abd use these newly found tax revenues to stabilize many and education come to mind.
Canada is a better place...but we can make it much better.
Peace out guys... i love your blog!