On April Fool’s Day (April 1st) the conservative Stephen Harper government was hoping to officially end the amazingly successful decade-plus program that allowed nearly 40,000 Canadians to grow their own legal marijuana.
But a Canadian federal judge stepped in just before the April 1st deadline, and dealt a major although perhaps temporary blow to Harper’s plans.
The marijuana growing plaintiffs who filed a successful lawsuit against the Canadian government’s new anti-marijuana regulations said Harper’s new regulations violate their ability to grow and possess the best marijuana medicine.
The new regulations would have forced licensed individual growers to stop growing, and to purchase higher-priced, lower-quality marijuana.
The federal judge who heard the lawsuit agreed with the plaintiffs that the government’s plans were needlessly burdensome, and harmful to people with a legitimate need to grow and use marijuana. He put a temporary block on some aspects of Harper’s new medical marijuana access regulations, including a delay of the April 1st deadline.
The Harper government has yet to comment on the judge’s ruling, and even marijuana advocates and their lawyers are unsure how long the ruling will effectively derail implementation of Harper’s plan to deactivate all cannabis grow licenses except for those held by powerful, politically-connected corporations.
The context is that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the RCMP, and their allies across Canada’s political spectrum have long tried to destroy the country’s legal medical marijuana growing program.
They’ve instituted mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana growers, and the RCMP have stepped up their brutal home invasions and arrests against marijuana growers.
This in a country where cannabis growers caught with 350 plants used to get off with merely a warning!
I was sad when I read that marijuana growers in Michigan suspected that the state’s barely-adequate medical marijuana law was just a trick to get marijuana growers to out themselves to law enforcement could come and bust them…and it looks like that’s where Canada is headed too.
In fact, the Harper government was requiring all licensed growers and users to sign official forms stating they’ll destroy their cannabis plants and homegrown marijuana stash by April 1, 2014.
If they didn’t sign the forms, the feds threatened to report their names and grow op locations to the RCMP.
But most of Canadian marijuana growers believe the RCMP already has the names and locations of all licensed Canadian cannabis grow ops.
If the Harper grow ban ever goes into effect, growers fear, the police and their buddies in the prisons and court systems will make tons of money and have lots of bullying fun persecuting marijuana growers who trusted the government’s previous promise to keep secret the identity and location of licensed growers.
The government claims it will make marijuana available to “qualified patients” through a new program that licenses “federally-approved marijuana-growing corporations” to grow and sell weed.
But the weed they’ll grow and sell is schwag compared to the high-quality marijuana strains professionally grown by tens of thousands of indoor hydroponics and outdoor marijuana home-growers during the legalized marijuana grow licensing program.
Not only is federally-produced marijuana schwaggy, it’s also going to cost patients a lot more to buy it than it cost them to grow it.
Other than hydroponics nutrients manufacturer Advanced Nutrients, a few lawyers, and a handful of courageous licensed growers and activists, the federal government’s destruction of legal marijuana growing and the government’s harm to medical marijuana patients is generating hardly any widespread protest and activism.
In fact, Canada is turning into a right-wing country, with many progressive Canadians referring to it as “the 51st state of the United States.”
Too many Canadian marijuana growers and users still have a passive approach to the threats they face.
For example, I remember talking to marijuana growers and users at a Vancouver marijuana rally last year.
One of them said, “Whatever. I don’t have time for politics. I’m sure the government problems will sort themselves out. No need to worry.”
Our hope is that the federal judge’s pro-marijuana ruling becomes permanent and binding, and that other court rulings invalidate Harper’s other anti-marijuana regulations as well.