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article imageCanadian medical marijuana patients can grow their own pot

By Michael Thomas     Feb 24, 2016 in Health
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that patients who use medical marijuana can grow their own cannabis at home. The decision strikes down Ottawa's ban on the practice.
The decision follows a lawsuit by four British Columbia-based patients who said the ban on growing medical marijuana violates their charter rights, according to the Globe & Mail.
The ruling doesn't mean Canadian medical marijuana patients can grow their own cannabis right away, however. Judge Michael Phelan will suspend the striking down of Ottawa's home-growing ban for six months to allow the federal government time to re-write the law.
In 2014, the Canadian government overhauled its rules on medical marijuana. It banned at-home grow-ops — for which it had given approximately 38,000 licenses — replacing them with a commercial system in which 15 dispensaries were given licenses to grow marijuana.
Under the new system, patients paid anywhere from $2.50 to $15 per gram of the licensed medical marijuana, though most of it retailed between $8 and $10.
The four plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued that they can't afford the new medical marijuana system and it gives them no control over which strains they use. Government lawyers countered that home grow-ops are a safety, fire and health risk, especially to those who live near one. Lawyers also said it's too difficult to make sure the home-grown pot is effective.
Since the new rules came into place, a bevy of illegal dispensaries have popped up in major urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto. Additionally, some who were licensed to grow medical marijuana under the pre-2014 rules continued to grow cannabis anyway,
The ruling Liberal Party is committed to legalizing marijuana across Canada, however it has not outlined its views on medical marijuana.
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