Illegal Toronto dispensary challenges Ottawa over medical marijuana laws – The Globe and Mail


An illegal cannabis dispensary in Toronto has filed a suit in Federal Court to enshrine its right to sell the drug to its patients, alleging Canada’s current mail-order medical marijuana system does not provide reasonable access to pot.

Phytos Apothecary and Wellness Centre alleges that, despite a Federal Court ruling last year overturning the medical marijuana rules to allow patients to grow cannabis at home, the current system still creates “significant and undue burdens” for thousands of sick Canadians trying to get reasonable access to the drug of their choice.

The statement of claim, filed Feb. 6 in Vancouver, alleges that patients are turning to the hundreds of illegal dispensaries popping up across the country because the legal system makes it too hard for them to find appropriate doses or forms of cannabis products at an affordable price.

Under the current system, it is also hard for many people to find a doctor willing to prescribe the drug or, if they want to grow their own cannabis, go through the “onerous application process and comply with stringent conditions that are neither necessary nor reasonable,” the lawsuit alleges.

Phytos would apply to produce and sell cannabis to patients under the current medical pot rules, the suit states, but that licensing process takes years, “requires the expenditure of at least hundreds of thousands of dollars, and more likely millions of dollars, and contains internal barriers that are simply not able to be overcome by most applicants or would-be applicants.”

The dispensary, which has one Toronto location that serves hundreds of members, is asking the court to exempt it from federal drug laws and throw out the rules of the current medical-marijuana system so

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