Federal Court to Decide Who Can Grow

The constitutional challenge to Canada’s new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) got underway on February 24 in a Federal Court in Vancouver.

This important case will decide if medical marijuana patients can grow their own medicine. As you may recall, a group of patients have challenged the new regulations because they are not able afford the prices set by the licensed producers. The patients need to grow in order to afford their own medicine. The MMPR effectively forces patients to break the law in order to access their medicine.

John Conroy Q.C, NORML Canada’s President, and Kirk Tousaw, NORML Canada’s BC Regional Director, are representing the patients in the matter. John Conroy is adamant that patients should not have to choose between their liberty and their health. This is an important case in the movement towards changing our bad laws. The case will continue into May 2015 at which time it is expected the judge will need some time, perhaps several months, to write the judgment. We look forward to keeping you updated on this critical case.

For more information on Allard et al v. Canada, please visit: http://johnconroy.com/mmar.htm

For more information on the MMAR coalition against repeal, please visit: http://www.mmarcoalitionagainstrepeal.com

Alaska Becomes the Red State to Legalize

Back in November 2014, we brought you news of the successful results of the ballot initiative in Alaska to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over. This became official on February 24 when adults in Alaska gained the freedom to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The initiative also brought with it other freedoms, such as growing up to six plants, and gifting or transporting the plant. However, smoking in public remains prohibited. The initiative will also open the door to commercial production and sales of marijuana but the state is still trying to determine how it will regulate the industry. Commercial production and sales are expected to be regulated by either the current Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or some new regulatory body tasked with regulating marijuana. The deadline for this decision is November 2015 given that plans are to begin accepting applications for commercial marijuana businesses in February 2016. Legal sales are expected to commence soon after that.

New US Department of Transportation Study on “Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk”

The federal agency released a study in February 2015 comparing the prevalence of alcohol to other illicit drugs in automobile accidents. Among its findings, it claims that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a collision than drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. The study also found that presence of THC in the body does not correlate directly with driving performance or impairment the same way it does with alcohol.

However, it is important to note that the study did find a statistically significant increase in crash risks for drivers who tested positive for THC in particular. However, after adjusting for variables such as age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level, there was not a significant increase in levels of risk associated with the presence of THC.

Further to this point, the study explains that the other variables mentioned earlier “were highly correlated with drug use and account for much of the increased risk associated with the use of illegal drugs and with THC.”

For more information on the study, please access the PDF by visiting here: http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/nti/pdf/812117-Drug_and_Alcohol_Crash_Risk.pdf

Apple Reverse Marijuana App Ban

Apple has reversed a recent ban on social media apps at its iTunes store provided they are offered only in U.S. states where cannabis use is legal either recreationally or medicinally. MassRoots, an online cannabis community, successfully lobbied Apple to reverse the original decision made in November 2014.

CSA Has Concerns About Publicly Traded Medical Marijuana Disclosures

The Canadian Securities Administrators have advised that many publicly traded licensed producers have not publicly disclosed the risks of investing in their businesses. There were 25 companies with serious investor protection concerns most of whom were in the early stages of setting up the business. Many of the companies downplayed the regulatory hurdles to obtaining a license.

Peace Naturals Recall

Peace Naturals Project Inc. was forced to recall medical cannabis which was labelled as having 9.07 % THC, but was as high as 13.7%.

NORML Hosts The Culture High screening at Canadian Student for Sensible Drug Policy #RisingRevolution Conference

This past weekend, NORML Canada joined CSSDP Saturday evening at their sold out conference to host a screening of ‘The Culture High’ at the University of Toronto. This documentary examines the present cannabis debates surrounding legalization. This highly anticipated sequel to “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High” includes appearances from Richard Branson, Snoop Dogg, Lester Grinspoon, Joe Rogan, and Gabor Mate, analyzing the motives and arguments of both sides of the legalization discussion.

As one of the first Toronto screenings of the film, we are excited to have been part of the only drug policy reform conference in Canada!