Canadians prescribed marijuana to treat illness will have more choice in where to buy their drugs after a court ruling Monday that ends the federal government's monopoly on supplying medical marijuana to patients.
Justice Department lawyers had sought to appeal a lower-court ruling that granted licensed producers the right to grow marijuana for more than one patient.
But the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the government's challenge, saying it was not persuaded by government lawyers who argued that growers supplying more than one patient would lead to an unregulated industry.
In January, a federal court judge struck down the one-to-one ratio as unconstitutional and unnecessarily restrictive. The judgment was stayed pending Monday's appeal.
Lawyer Alan Young, who represented medical marijuana users, said the ruling was a victory for sick people.
"It's time for Health Canada to recognize that medical marijuana is an established part of the regimen for a lot of patients," Young said outside court. "Instead of thwarting patient needs, they should be accommodating patient needs and, hopefully, this case will be a signal to them."
Jordana Huber, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, October 28, 2008
© The Calgary Herald 2008
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