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Court Strikes Down Pot Law

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Court Strikes Down Pot Law

- July 31/2000 - (TORONTO) In a move likely to have national repercussions,
Ontario's highest court struck down Canada's pot law as it relates to

The Ontario Court of Appeal was ruling on the case of Terry Parker, a
Toronto epileptic who smokes marijuana to control his violent seizures.
While Mr. Parker won the legal right to smoke pot in a 1988 court battle,
he was charged more recently with cultivation. He won that court case in
1997, but the Crown appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Justice Rosenberg, in writing for the majority, stated that the court was
satisfied Mr. Parker needs marijuana to control his seizures, and that he
should have legal access to the drug. Further, the court decided that "the
prohibition on the possession of marijuana is unconstitutional."

The court based their decision on the fact that the current Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act does not allow easy access to marijuana for
medical reasons.

As a result, the Court of Appeal declared the CDSA "to be of no force and

This does not, however, mean that patients can start puffing pot across
Ontario: the court suspended the "declaration of invalidity" for one year.
During this time period, pot smokers can still be arrested and jailed.
However, Canada's Parliament now has 12 months to come up with a new pot
law that makes it easier for medical marijuana users to access cannabis.

If Parliament fails to come up with a new law in one year's time, then
Canada's marijuana statutes are essentially null and void.

In theory, this means that the court ruling could pave the way for the
legalization of marijuana in Canada - for both recreational and medical