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Medical Marijuana Users will be able to Grow their own Cannabis

medical marijuana

Changing Legislation on Medical Marijuana

This past February, Justice Michael Phelan of the Federal Court, struck down the former Conservative government’s 2013 law that required medical marijuana patients to buy their marijuana from a licensed producer rather than growing their own.  Justice Phelan ruled in Vancouver that marijuana for medical purposes regulations infringe rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Justice Phelan said that the “rules limited a patient to a single government-approved contractor and eliminated the ability to grow one’s own marijuana or choose one’s own supplier” restricts a patient’s liberties.

The Judge made it clear that this ruling does not change other laws or make it legal for Canadians without a prescription to use marijuana recreationally.  After this ruling, Parliament was given six-months to re-write the legislation to conform with this ruling.  Justice Phelan also ruled that 28,000 patients that were allowed to keep growing their medical marijuana under a 2014 injunction could continue growing until the new legislation comes in force.  Health Canada said that the injunction will remain in place until they are confident that the government can handle thousands of new patients entering the system.

The New Legislation

On August 11, 2016, new legislation was drafted that will come into force August 24th, 2016, allowing medical marijuana patients to grow a limited amount of cannabis at home or have it grown for them.  Patients that are approved by a physician to use marijuana may submit an application to Health Canada along with an original medical document and the location that the marijuana will be grown.

Further, if a patient is not healthy enough or chooses not to grow their own marijuana, they will be entitled to have a third party grown their marijuana.  In order to be a third party grower, the individual must pass a background check and not have been convicted of a drug offence in the past ten years.  A third party will not be legally allowed to grow for more than two people.

If a medical marijuana user does not want to grow their own cannabis or have a third party grow it for them, they still have the option of purchasing their marijuana from one of thirty-four Health Canada approved producers.  Under the current laws, this is the only source available.

How much can you grow?

Once the legislation is changed to reflect the new laws, an individual that for example, is prescribed one gram per day, could legally grow two plants outdoors or five plants indoors.  Health Canada states that the discrepancy is because outdoor plants grow much larger and yield more marijuana.

Jacqueline Bogden, assistant deputy minister for cannabis legalization and regulation, stated that “Health Canada is confident that these new regulations provide reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes and address the issues identified by the Federal Court.”  Health Canada further commented that they are opposed to illegal dispensaries, which continue to operate despite recent police raids in Toronto.

Do you have Questions?

If you have questions regarding to government’s new legislation or have been charged with a drug related offence, trust the experts at Smordin Law.  Our experienced team can advise you on all of your criminal matters and inquiries.

medical marijuana

Planted Evidence results in Charges Withdrawn

In January 2014, Nguyen Son Tran was pulled over and charged for running a red light. The officer on the scene then arrested Mr. Tran because they had spotted white powder (planted evidence) on his dashboard and a subsequent search of his vehicle revealed that Mr. Tran had a large amount of heroin in his car. At least that was their story.

In September, Mr. Tran had the charges against him withdrawn, while the investigating officers are facing charges for obstruction and perjury.

Planted Evidence

In his recent judgment, Justice Edward Morgan found that the police had made up the story about Mr. Tran running the red light and had planted the heroin residue on the dashboard to make their search seem legitimate. He categorized the actions of the officers as “misconduct…entirely beyond anything the courts can accept”. The heroin evidence was thrown out as fruit of the poisonous tree.

Police guilty of planted evidence - charges withdrawn

Police guilty of planted evidence – charges withdrawn


Writes Justice Morgan:

“The false creation of a pretext to search the defendant’s vehicle, combined with collusive fabrication of a story by the two lead Officers as to why they came to assist in the traffic stop of the defendant, certainly amounts to egregiously wrong conduct”

The four Toronto police officers all had several years on the force and were in good standing. They face a total of 17 charges. Their previous cases are now being probed.

Even in criminal defence you don’t often hear people claiming that the police planted evidence or fabricated evidence. But it does happen. The Toronto Star published a series in 2012 called “Police who Lie” . It detailed several examples of times that officers lied to obtain search warrants, provided false testimony, etc.

While this is not a common occurrence by any means, what these stories show is how important it is to have a criminal justice system that takes a critical look at the evidence that is being presented by police officers. Even more importantly, if you have been illegally searched or you feel that the evidence against you isn’t accurate, you should contact a lawyer who can fight for your case.

Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716

Drug Possession. Hamilton Enforcement is up.

Recently released information from Statisitics Canada shows that Hamilton is one of the top major cities for the enforcement of marijuana drug possession charges, coming in eighth out of thirty-four cities. For the purposes of gathering information, Statistics Canada defined “Hamilton” to include Grimsby and Burlington, but if Hamilton alone is considered, the enforcement rates are even higher. Not only are individuals more likely to be charged with marijuana drug possession in the city of Hamilton and the surrounding areas, but the Statistics Canada information highlighted an upward trend in the number of these types of charges over the past nine years. Across Canada, the increase in marijuana-related investigations and charges both increased by 30% since 2006. However, in Hamilton, the rate of investigations increased by 185% and the number of charges increased by 154%.

drug possession

Statistics Canada also provided additional information about the general severity of marijuana drug possession charges. These charges are unique in that they are frequently an individual’s only charge in a particular case. 55% of adults, and 50% of youth charged with possession of marijuana had no other concurrent charges. In comparison, when the cases involved other drugs, the amount of single-charge cases dropped to 23% for adults, and 24% for youth.

Getting a Lawyer to Fight Drug Possession Charges

The lawyers at Smordin Law understand that while a marijuana drug possession charge may not seem like the most serious criminal matter, it can still affect an individual’s life in a variety of ways. This includes possible employment repercussions such as a termination or lack of hiring due to a criminal record, difficulty travelling to other countries, and the stress of navigating the criminal court system. If you are facing a possession charge, contact Smordin Law to explore your options.

Production Charge. Judge Strikes Down Mandatory Minimums

Being found guilty of Marijuana Production Charge had recently commanded a mandatory sentence.    The Controlled Drugs and Substance Act reads Sec 7 (1) (2)(b):

  • (b) if the subject matter of the offence is cannabis (marijuana), is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years, and to a minimum punishment of

    • (i) imprisonment for a term of six months if the number of plants produced is less than 201 and more than five, and the production is for the purpose of trafficking,

    • (ii) imprisonment for a term of nine months if the number of plants produced is less than 201 and more than five, the production is for the purpose of trafficking and any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply,

    • (iii) imprisonment for a term of one year if the number of plants produced is more than 200 and less than 501,

    • (iv) imprisonment for a term of 18 months if the number of plants produced is more than 200 and less than 501 and any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply,

    • (v) imprisonment for a term of two years if the number of plants produced is more than 500, or

    • (vi) imprisonment for a term of three years if the number of plants produced is more than 500 and any of the factors set out in subsection (3) apply;

Production Charge Struck Down

The Brampton man in this Globe and Mail Article successfully brought a constitutional challenge to the six-month minimum jail term for conviction on a production charge for growing between six and 200 marijuana plants for the purposes of trafficking. The man, who pleaded guilty to working in a grow-op, stated that the mandatory minimum was “cruel and unusual punishment” and the judge agreed with his position.

Following the reasoning of a recent Supreme Court decision, the judge stated that it was possible that an individual who has a licence to legally grow marijuana to accidentally grow more than the allotted amount, thereby creating a situation where an honest mistake is criminalized. The judge further stated that attaching a mandatory sentence, that at its minimum, would be six months, is “grossly disproportionate” for dealing with such a situation.

The judge added that a mandatory minimum sentence cannot be served intermittently, which would significantly disrupt an individual’s life, as a continuous six months in jail can greatly affect a person’s social and financial stability. This ruling is a step forward in ensuring equitable results for Ontarians who are facing criminal charges for growing marijuana plants.

Though this ruling only applies in Ontario, it may influence future rulings in other jurisdictions.



production charge