The 29 licensed medical marijuana producers in Canada could face a new financial squeeze following a federal judge’s ruling on Wednesday that registered MMJ patients can grow their own cannabis.
Federal Court Judge Michael Phelan struck down what is known as the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which were introduced by Canada’s previous government in 2013, the New York Times reported. The regulations took away the right of card-holding patients to grow their medicine at home and required them to buy from licensed cultivators.
The rules did not apply to nearly 30,000 Canadians who were permitted to grow at home under the pre-2013 law. But thousands of patients were prevented from cultivating MMJ at home and therefore had to buy from licensed producers.
There are roughly 30,500 medical marijuana cardholders in Canada. That’s down from about 40,000 who were registered under the MMAR program, and only 13% of whom, according to 2012 statistics, purchased through one of the country’s licensed commercial producers.
The ruling was greeted joyfully by Canadian home growers, some of whom picketed outside the Vancouver court house where the case unfolded, holding signs with messages like “Don’t Force Me To Buy Corporate Pot,” according to CBC News.
Phelan suspended his order for six months so the current government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which has said it favors recreational marijuana legalization, can devise regulations on home grows.