16 Jun Last Word – Some Wisdom We Can Learn From, Courtesy of Our Friends North o the Border
We can learn a lot from our neighbors to the north.
In case you missed it, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled last week, by a 7-0 vote, that “those who are legally permitted to use marijuana for medicinal purposes are now allowed to bake the plant into food, otherwise known as edibles, as well as other forms of ingesting,” according to a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
But despite the unanimous vote by Canada’s highest court, not everyone north of the border is happy with this decision. The Globe and Mail story went on to say:
Health Minister Rona Ambrose, speaking to reporters, said she is “outraged” by the ruling, and she accused the Supreme Court of steering young people toward marijuana use in the same fashion as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who has proposed decriminalizing the drug. She said it should not be judges but medical experts at Health Canada who set the rules.
This expansion of a pre-existing court-imposed program to now include cookies and candies makes marijuana more attractive and accessible to youth and reflects Justin Trudeau’s campaign to legalize and normalize marijuana,” she said in a prepared statement.”
So, Canada’s Supreme Court makes a pro-marijuana ruling and the federal government screams that the court overstepped it’s authority and has done something that is dangerous for young people. Sound familiar?
It’s pretty clear that Canada is struggling with a lot of the same issues as we are here in the USA when it comes to legal marijuana, but the difference is that the Canadians have their courts involved, and at the highest level.
That’s probably where we need to see things going here south of the border, too.
As I write this, Colorado’s State Supreme Court is due to rule on a case involving an employee who lost his job because of his medical marijuana use when he was off the clock and not on the job. He was hit with a random drug test, and the fact that he had been using medical marijuana during his off hours to control muscle spasms didn’t matter to his employer.
As The Denver Post notes, “the ruling could be precedent-setting as Colorado and other states wrangle with adapting laws to a nascent industry that is illegal under federal law. … (the) ruling would establish a legal framework in how employers tolerate medical marijuana use by workers when off the job. It also could provide clarity in recreational marijuana use.”
It makes sense that Colorado’s Supreme Court would be the first to dip into the legal issues surrounding legal marijuana use here in the U.S. given that Colorado has the most advanced rules and procedures pertaining to legal cannabis.
But, that’s gotta change.
Although it’s good to get the state courts involved in this, real change won’t take place until we get the U.S. Supreme Court involved, hopefully sooner rather than later, because the gap between federal and state marijuana policies is growing rapidly as more and more states legalize cannabis use in some (or all) forms.
Can the states regulate marijuana use? Lots of states say they can, but the restrictions from the federal government continue to cause havoc for legal marijuana entrepreneurs as well as gum up what the states are trying to do.
As great as it would be for Congress and the feds to ease up on marijuana, that’s been a long, slow-moving, and frustrating process. It may take our courts, particularly our highest court, to get involved to truly help and jump start the process.
Canada’s Supreme Court has now shown the way, and has done so despite the pressure being applied by the federal government.
It’s time for the U.S. to learn from our neighbors to the north, and time to get our courts more engaged in this ongoing legalization discussion.
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