Edibles regulations to be challenged in Canadian court

Published on September 9, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
gummi bear

Lawyer John Conroy, who has been at the heart of several major Canadian cannabis legalization cases, including the Allard decision, said his next constitutional challenge will be the federal government’s regulations on edibles, extracts, and topicals.

Conroy says the edibles-package limit of 10 mg THC was far too little for medical consumers—who do not have access to edibles directly from the LPs they’re required to buy from.Join the Leafly Canada CommunityThis is among the stranger aspects of Canadian cannabis law.

While we have separate streams for medical and adult-use/recreational cannabis, Health Canada is framing edibles/ingestibles as all for adult-use purposes.

As many medical cannabis users with chronic pain will tell you, whole-flower edibles are among the most effective delivery systems for soothing those long-term discomforts. Which makes it even stranger that Health Canada has not authorized a separate stream for more powerful edibles for medical patients.

So while edibles will be sold as recreational, there will be no corollary available from the medical system—meaning the Health Canada regulations will determine to freeze THC content at a fraction of the amount many medical users need for relief.

With that in mind, Conroy will challenge the ban under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, saying it cannot “arbitrarily deprive medicinal cannabis patients of their right to security of the person.”

Conroy’s involvement in this case is important because of his role in the Allard case as well as that of Owen Smith.

In the Smith case, the Supreme Court of Canada found in 2015 that it was unconstitutional to charge a man with preparing cannabis cookies for a compassion club, as medical users have the right to access cannabis.

To ban such preparations of the plant, the court found, “foreclose[ed] reasonable medical choices through the threat of criminal prosecution. Similarly, by forcing a person to choose between a legal but inadequate treatment and an illegal but more effective one, the law also [infringed upon the] security of the person.”

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Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.
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