Judge ruled law unconstitutional
A recent ruling about Canada’s pot laws might make it difficult to crack down on simple possession, legal experts say.
But don’t rush out and roll a joint in public just yet.
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Alan Young, Osgoode Hall law professor and marijuana legalization activist, said yesterday the grace period may not last long and doesn’t stop cops from doing their job.
“For a short period of time, this ruling may throw things into confusion,” Young said.
A Toronto judge ruled Friday in the case against Clifford Lond, 29, that Canada’s pot possession laws are unconstitutional.
Lond was arrested in 2005 for having 3.5 grams of pot, worth roughly $45.
Defence lawyer Brian McAllister objected to the fact that a 2003 decision to allow access to medical marijuana was made by a policy statement and not by changing the statute or regulations.
McAllister argued this informality makes the pot possession laws invalid, even for those, like Lond, who don’t have a medical licence to smoke it.
Justice Howard Borenstein of the Ontario Court of Justice agreed and dismissed the charges. The ruling gives Ontario residents charged with possession a new defence for at least the next two weeks. That’s when Borenstein is supposed to present his formal ruling. Until then, the ruling can be used as a legal shield, Young says.