Marijuana Supreme Court Victory in Canada, Defeat in Colorado

img credit: politicsofpot.com

img credit: politicsofpot.com

There are big, important questions surrounding Marijuana these days. Questions so big and important that they found their way to the steps of the highest courts in the land seeking answers and this past June, they got them. The big question in Canada: Do medical patients have the right to choose a form of medicine differing from dried flower? In Colorado: Do medical patients have the right to keep their jobs while possessing THC in their urine? The supremes of Canada said yea, the supremes of Colorado said nay.

Owen Smith was living in Vancouver making Marijuana infused cookies for medical patients when he was seized (with his cookies) by Canadian authorities back in 2009. He was charged under the Controlled Drugs and Substances act for illicit drug trafficking because the Canadian Marihuana Medical Access Regulations only apply to dried marijuana buds. Or, I should say, applied. In a unanimous decision released June 11th, The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to limit patients to smoking dried flower when eating oils or tinctures could be safer and more effective.

Health Canada (which wrote the marijuana regulations) is now caught in a bind. Now, they’ll have to develop regulations for producing safe extracts and edibles. A difficult task when the departmental party line is that no amount is safe and prohibition is best for children. Edibles regulation has been a nightmarish can of worms here in Colorado. So good luck up there!

In Colorado, Brandon Coats was fired from his call center job at Dish Network back in 2010. He admitted to using medical marijuana when he was selected for a random drug test of his urine. He consumed only in his home for painful muscle spasms from quadriplegia. Being a model employee, Dish Network did not claim that Mr. Coats was impaired at work or that he was consuming on the job. Their only claim was that Mr. Coats violated the zero tolerance drug policy when he rolled into work with residual THC in his body.

In Colorado, we have a lawful activities statute protecting employees from being fired for participating in lawful activities off-the-clock. Our Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “lawful activities” only applies to locally and federally lawful activities. Sorry, Brandon. Dish Network won.

These cases are important because they’re dealing with the consequences of legalizing marijuana. It seems obvious now that you can’t just legalize weed without upending the whole drug war apparatus. Dealing with the legal fallout from a repeal of prohibition should be the job of lawmakers and rulemakers, not judges. It’s a hard job. You might not like it and maybe you politically disagree, but the fact is that the voters of Colorado have spoken against prohibition. More prohibition is no longer an option for Health Canada or Colorado Lawmakers and that’s a good place to start.

No more prohibition, so what do we do now? We’re looking for leadership from Health Canada and the State of Colorado and fuck it, the FDA too. Don’t fail us now. I recommend using science.

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