April 1, 2014 could mark the end of home cultivation for Canadian medical marijuana patients, as new regulations that force MMJ users into a state-run dispensary system are set to begin that day.
But patients upset over having to destroy their gardens have petitioned to have the rule blocked and potentially overturned, arguing that they have the right to freely cultivate their medicine instead of being priced out of a consumer market.
New rules limit production of cannabis to a few state-regulated, massive farms. Lawmakers say it will help curb the black market supply of medical cannabis to recreational users.
Earlier this week, Health Canada urged medical marijuana growers and users licensed under the old system that they had to destroy their herb before the April 1 deadline. Patients are also expected to fill out forms declaring that they are done growing pot. If you don’t sign that waiver, cops can show up to your door using previously-inaccessible patient information.
They even went so far as to suggest how to throw out your herb: mix it with kitty litter, wet it and toss it out with the garbage.
Attorney John Conroy, who is represnting patients in the fight, says it won’t be hard to prove that the commercial cost of cannabis (as high as $12 a gram) will price out patients who were growing it for as little as $1 a gram before.
“We have to convince the court that these folks will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction or exemption, pending trial, isn’t granted,” Conroy told the Star. “We’re not trying to prevent the (MMPR) from being in effect, we’re simply saying it’s constitutionally defective in certain aspects.”
The ruling is expected later this week.