Authorized home growing by medical marijuana users can continue past April 1 after an injunction was granted Friday by a Federal Court judge.

Medical marijuana users win court-ordered reprieve

Injunction allows authorized home pot growing to continue past April 1, until trial

Medical marijuana users have won a last-minute court reprieve that allows them to keep growing their own pot at home instead of destroying it and turning to new federally licenced commercial suppliers.

Federal Court Judge Michael Manson granted a temporary injunction Friday for those with a personal production licence to continue to grow medical marijuana, pending the outcome of a constitutional challenge still to be heard.

Health Canada’s new regulation outlawing personal growing had been slated to take effect April 1, but the decision throws a wrench into the Conservative government’s pot reform plans.

Medical marijuana users and their supporters are jubilant.

“I’m very excited,” said Sandra Colasanti, a member of a coalition seeking to repeal the new rules who said she doesn’t use pot but her husband needs it.

“I’ve seen a lot of people who have everything from MS to cancer to full-blown AIDS and I’ve seen people die if they don’t have access to this.”

She said she’s optimistic the action launched by Abbotsford lawyer John Conroy will succeed when it goes to trial. No date has been set but it’s expected sometime this year.

The federal government cited widespread problems with the current system of permitted medical marijuana users growing pot at home or having other designated growers do it for them.

Colasanti said the coalition doesn’t deny there are problems with the old system, which cities say create fire risks and other safety hazards from mould to home invasions.

Health Canada could have prevented such problems had it simply conducted regular inspections of permitted medical grows, she said.

“Whose idea was it to have this important a program and not have mandatory inspections?” Colasanti asked. “The coalition is not saying there shouldn’t be some rules. We want rules. We have asked for rules.”

Medical pot patients behind the court action feared they’ll pay commercial producers much more than it cost to grow themselves and end up with less access to the cannabis strains that work best for them.

The injunction doesn’t stop the launch of new commercial pot producers, but it throws into doubt how large their market will be if many users don’t have to immediately switch to them for their supply.

Growers licensed under the old system had been ordered by Ottawa to give written notice by April 30 that they’d halted production and destroyed all leftover pot or face potential police enforcement.

Some municipalities had been poised to send in inspection teams or police to root out the legal medical grow-ops they were aware of come April.

But Surrey’s fire department is now shelving its plans to step in to remediate an estimated 309 buildings with medical marijuana grows within the city.

“I’m disappointed,” said Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis. “I guess we just simply wait.”

Garis said it’s troubling from a public safety point of view, referring to academic studies that show the grow operations are 24 times more likely to  burn than a regular home.

– with files from Kevin Diakiw

Just Posted

Rossland Public Library receives over $80,000 toward renewal project

The library has received a second grant worth over $80,000 towards its renewal project.

Rossland Council approves rezoning for two new developments at Red

Rossland City Council approved two bylaws regarding new developments out at Red Mountain.

Rossland Citizen Budget results are in

The results from Citizen Budget were released to the public at the end of last month.

Quiet start to 2018 for South Columbia Search and Rescue

South Columbia members are focusing on updating training

Updated: Kootenay communities benefit from gas tax dollars

The project is one of 112 approved in B.C. communities this year

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Canadian Paralympic team picked up record 28 medals

The 55 athletes strong had set a cautious goal of 17 medals for PyeongChang

Most Read