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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read