Front row seat to History: Feb 23, 2015 9:30am @ 701 W. Georgia st.

By Cori Petersen

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One week from today, a historic and important constitutional challenge arrives in the court room, bringing medical Cannabis in Canada to the center stage.

Monday 9:30AM February 23rd 2015, at 701 W. Georgia St., downtown Vancouver in the trial division of the Federal Court, docket no. T-2030-13, begins the three week expedited case.

Allard v. Canada a.k.a. “The Allard Injunction” prevented the mandated destruction of medical Cannabis gardens late last spring. This “David v. Goliath” moment caught Health Canada by surprise, when patients who had obtained an Authorization to Possess (ATP) through the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations program, banded together behind Jason Wilcox in a Coalition Against the Repeal of the MMAR (Recently renamed Cannabis Rights Coalition). Additionally, many volunteers associated with those affected by this change joined their numbers.

The proposed destruction these patients’ affordable self-sustained supply of medicine and shut down of the old MMAR program was to be replaced with the Marihuana for Medical PurposesRegulations. The MMPR scheme expected a “captive market” to sustain their launch, where patients were to get their medicine from the large-scale producers… and from no one else. An astronomical increase in expense and hardship for the majority of the ATP holders, expected to bear the brunt of this at any cost, even selling off or leveraging assets to afford their medicine, was more than even the courts could allow.

With the counsel of John Conroy QC, an unprecedented uniting of Cannabis patients has gained in numbers, education and donations to fund this immense undertaking.

This case is being handled on a donations basis bearing in mind that many patients are on medical disability pensions…[numerous financial details omitted]…other lawyers assisting with the case (Tonia Grace, Kirk Tousaw, Bibhas Vaze and Matthew Jackson).” Part of an online statement from the Coalition.

A lot of work has been gone into preparation for this “simplified action” case. In order to condense the proceedings into three weeks, a schedule of witnesses as well as other submissions have been agreed to, thus reducing the amount of cross-examination and re-hashing of the same material in court. Affidavits and rebuttals to adversarial affidavits will stream-line the events. Already submitted rebuttals have essentially shut down many of the crowns “expert” witnesses. A great deal of this trial has actually been accomplished in advance to save on both money and court time.

While the Courts have said there must be reasonable access to marijuana for medical purposes, the Government’s goal is to treat dried marijuana as much as possible like other narcotic drugs used for medical purposes.” This claim made by Health Canada is truly a farce, when in the over decade the MMAR was in full effect, no Drug Identification Number (DIN) was ever assigned to Cannabis, effectively keeping it out in the cold where no insurance company could support it, no lab could request it for research, and no doctor had any motivation to prescribe it.

Across the country, the Coalition has put on various amazing fund-raising events over the last year and half, each one seeming to build upon the last. Two days before the trial February 21st, a “Kick-off” event is planned in Langely, BC at Murrayville Hall from 6pm to midnight. An earlier fund-raiser took place in October at this location celebrating Halloweed.

On the same day (Feb 21st 7pm) on the other side of the country, another event is scheduled “celebrating together with friends and supports to Kick Off Our Trial To Save Our Gardens!” at the Underground Cafe & Social Club, 670 Queen St East, Toronto, Ontario.

Together we will save our gardens, onward we grow.

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