An Ottawa couple is suing the federal government for a combined $6.5 million on the grounds that Canada’s new medical marijuana rules will infringe on their having reasonable access to quality medicine.
Married medical pot patients Christine Lowe and Russell Barth claim that the Marihuana Medical Access Program regulations, which take effect on April 1, will inhibit their ability to afford the amount of marijuana necessary to treat their ailments. Barth has a prescription for 16 grams of pot each day (just over half an ounce) to treat pain from fibromyalgia and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by multiple motorcycle accidents. Lowe consumes cannabis to treat epileptic pain and seizures.
Barth is suing for $3.6 million and Lowe for $2.9 million – the amounts they anticipate will be necessary to purchase medical pot for the next 40 years based on the newly established price of up to $15 per gram soon to be charged by commercial growers.
Under Health Canada’s new regulations that prohibit personal and home caregiver cultivation in favor of large commercial operations, Barth and Lowe will no longer be able to purchase pot from their designated local grower. Barth said he’s also being forced to destroy $130,000 worth of weed already in his possession – 78 plants and 3.5 kilograms (nearly eight pounds) of dried flowers.
The couple’s suit gives the government three options: 1) remove cannabis from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which would completely legalize it for any use, 2) grant Barth and Lowe a court-ordered exemption from the law, or 3) provide them with the $6.5 million being sought so they can afford medical marijuana for the rest of their natural lives.