Medical marijuana at Peace Naturals facility. CBC
A Federal Court judge in Vancouver has granted a last-minute reprieve for medical marijuana users who say they need to be able to grow their own pot at home.
On Friday morning, the judge granted an injunction allowing those who have a personal production licence to grow medical marijuana to continue for now, pending the outcome of a trial to be held at a later date.
Those with an authorization to possess medical marijuana will also be allowed to continue to do so under the injunction, though they will only be permitted to hold up to 150 grams.
Without the injunction, Health Canada's new laws, which go into effect April 1, would end the home production of medical marijuana. Instead, all those using medical marijuana would have to purchase it from large-scale commercial facilities that are being set up around the country.
Patients have voiced concern about the cost and the quality of the product they will be able to obtain under the new system.
Abbotsford, B.C., lawyer John Conroy was in court this week seeking the interim injunction for growers.
Conroy alleges that Health Canada's pronouncements are a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Earlier this week, Conroy argued that the new rules create an intractable dilemma for patients.
"If the patient can't afford the medicine at the prices under the program that's being produced, then they're placed in a position where they have to choose between their liberty and their health," Conroy said.
Without the injunction, patients would have to destroy their plants before April 1 and send notification to Health Canada by April 30 stating that they've stopped production and destroyed their plants, or law enforcement would be notified.
The federal government argued in its statement of defence that grow-ops in houses lead to safety problems, such as fire hazards and mould.
The government also argued that home-based grow-ops put people at risk of home invasions — meaning attempted robberies like the one this past weekend at a licensed medical marijuana grow-op in Langley, B.C.