February 25, 2016 3:09 am
Updated: February 25, 2016 7:56 am

Albertans react to federal court ruling on medical marijuana

WATCH ABOVE: There are big changes for Canadians who use medical marijuana. A federal court judge has struck down legislation that barred patients from growing their own cannabis. In Alberta, the ruling is spurring reaction from producers, advocates and users. Shallima Maharaj spoke with an Edmonton mother whose five-year-old son is reliant on a form of medical marijuana oil to help him cope with severe epilepsy.


EDMONTON – An immense sense of shock and relief washed over Monique Guillamot when she learned that a Federal Court judge struck down legislation barring medical marijuana patients from growing their own cannabis.

Guillamot’s son Keyaan experienced his first seizure at just three months old. At two, he was diagnosed with a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.

Now five years old, he takes a combination of anti-epileptic drugs and CBD, a form of medical marijuana oil.

“My kid was seizing all the time and I was trying meds. One after the other, after the other. He would seize in his sleep, he seizes from the wind, he seizes from stimulation,” she told Global News Wednesday. “There was nothing else.”

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On Wednesday, Judge Michael Phelan found that the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations violated charter rights. It required patients to purchase from licensed producers.

READ MORE: Court rules patients can grow own medical marijuana

In his written ruling, Phelan suspended his decision to strike down the law for a period of six months, giving the Liberal government time to come up with new rules.

“I’m a renter so I couldn’t be growing at home, but when you have somebody reliable down the street and you don’t have to get it shipped to you from Ontario or the (United) States, it’s great,” Guillamot said.

The Cannabis Patients Association of Canada (CPAC) plans on offering its input to the federal government.

“A lot of these people, they have serious illnesses. They don’t have the financial resources to spend that kind of money and being that it’s not covered by any health care insurance of any kind – it is a big, big burden,” John Lorenz, CPAC’s executive director, said.

READ MORE: Legal marijuana market attracting growing field of savvy investors

The only licensed producer in Alberta is also applauding the decision.

“It really shows the kind of progress we’re making in Canada in terms of shifting attitudes and reducing stigma and acknowledging the therapeutic benefits that medical cannabis provides,” Neil Belot, Aurora Cannabis chief brand officer, said.

The next six months will be closely watched as guidelines are thought out and consultations take place.



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