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External link to Hitzig V. Canada decision at CANLII

Newshawk: CMAP (
Pubdate: Fri, 10 Jan 2003
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Gretchen Drummie, Jason Tchir, Toronto Sun
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Lawyers and their clients who persuaded a judge to strike down the medicinal marijuana regulations as unconstitutional were high on yesterday's "bold" landmark ruling.

"Canada rules, that's for sure," Warren Hitzig, an applicants in the constitutional challenge, said. "I'm very surprised, extremely ecstatic. The judge made a fantastic decision. I would not have wanted to be in his shoes."

"The judge said it's unconstitutional for medical users to use the unconventional measures they had to use," said Hitzig, a founder of the Toronto Compassion Centre, which sold medicinal pot to about 1,500 terminally ill people until it was raided last year. He and three others still face charges.

"We're very gratified by the decision," lawyer Joseph Neuberger said. "It addresses the concerns that we highlighted and puts real pressure on the government to now put into place a regime that does provide them with access to and ( a ) safe supply of medicinal marijuana. If they don't comply, then possession is lawful and they're no longer subject to criminal law."

Neuberger was one of four lawyers who successfully argued before Justice Sidney Lederman that the Marijuana Medicinal Access Regulations violated constitutional rights.

But epileptic Terry Parker "wasn't thrilled" by the ruling.

In 2000, the Ontario Court of Appeal backed Parker's right to smoke pot for medicinal purposes and gave Ottawa a year to revise the law. "I've been waiting two years, now it will be another six months," said Parker, who smokes pot daily to block his seizures. "It disturbs me, 2,400 to 4,600 people die from epilepsy. We need this immediately."

"This is the strongest decision we have to date about the climate of the day with regard to decriminalization," said lawyer Leora Shemesh. Shemesh said Lederman is saying "the Marijuana Medicinal Access Regulations are ineffective, and that's probably the best signal we've received so far from a higher court about possibly decriminalizing the entire regime."

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