Eat Your Heart Out: Cannabis Edibles are Constitutional

Image via Huffington Post.

Medical marijuana patients have a friend in Justice Robert Johnston — the man responsible for the B.C. Court of Appeal decision that concluded it is unconstitutional to forbid licensed medical marijuana users from possessing pot-laced products, such as cookies or body creams.

His logic was sound. “Permitting dried cannabis alone was arbitrary and did little to further a legitimate state interest.” Any interest in a ban on patients consuming cannabis edibles is a prejudice against people who prefer not to smoke.

Court ruling permits cannabis creams, salves, oils, brownies, cakes, cookies and chocolate bars, etc.

Indeed in the earlier B.C. case, Justice Risa Levine said this specification [to not allow cannabis edibles] "is arbitrary and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society." Levine went on to state in her written reasons, that when patients choose to use edible forms of marijuana, it "was a matter of necessity, or put another way, the restriction to dried marijuana interfered with their physical or psychological integrity." There are significant health reasons for choosing to ingest a cannabis prescription orally (e.g. in a baked brownie) over inviting hot, unfiltered ash into your lungs, multiple times throughout the day.

Edibles provide a longer lasting period of pain relief and are less of a hurdle for some patients to overcome. The banned substances included cannabis resin and various extracts and derivatives of the cannabis plant.

Still, there is the simple fact that edibles are a more respectful alternative to smoking up your apartment and imposing the smell onto each and every one of your neighbours. Edibles are a far more discreet option for patients who wish to not attract too much attention to their prescription medicine. Doctors who prescribe medical marijuana do so because it fulfills “one of the most fundamental objectives of medicine: the relief of suffering.” Based on this fundamental principle of alleviating suffering, Justice Robert Johnston was absolutely correct to identify a ban on cannabis edibles as unconstitutional. In Canada, no licensed medical marijuana users are no longer forbidden from possessing pot-laced products, such as cookies or body creams.

Parliament has now been given one year to re-craft the MMPR regulations.

The case first started in 2009 when Owen Smith admitted to making marijuana cookies and pot-based creams for medical marijuana users and was charged. Smith was baking more than 200 pot cookies for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, and had a supply of cannabis-infused cooking oils and some dried dope in his apartment when he was arrested.

The Canadian Parliament has now been given one year to re-craft the MMPR regulations to allow medicinal marijuana users to use products made from cannabis extract. They can include creams, salves, oils, brownies, cakes, cookies and chocolate bars.

UPDATE: June 11th, 2015

"The country's highest court found the current restriction to dried marijuana violates the right to liberty and security 'in a manner that is arbitrary and hence is not in accord with the principles of fundamental justice.'" 

Derek Pluim
Derek Pluim