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Ottawa will appeal ruling striking down marijuana law

By Hempology | September 19, 2003

From the Times Colonist, September 19th, 2003

VANCOUVER (CP) – A B.C. provincial court judge’s ruling that the law governing
marijuana possession is invalid will be appealed, a spokeswoman for the federal
Justice Department said Thursday.

A notice to appeal has been filed, said Lyse Cantin, spokeswoman for the department’s
B.C. region.

Police and the B.C. solicitor general were quick to insist earlier this week the ruling
does not make marijuana possession legal and is not bindig on other judges.

Ironically, the appeal was celebrated by the B.C. Marijuana Party.

“That’s a good thing for everyone, I would think,” said spokesman Marc Emery, who stood
outside Vancouver police headquarters Thursday and toked a cigar-sized joint at a
“smoke-in” protest.

“It’ll be appealed to B.C. Supreme Court and they’ll rule in the favour of the judge,”
he predicted, calling the Sept. 4 ruling “iron clad”.

“They’re not going to come to a different decision and that will be binding on all the
judges on B.C., so that’s good.”

Emery said his group would continue to pass out copies of the ruling.

“Marijuana possession is legal in B.C., absolutely,” he said. “We’re telling everybody.”

In the ruling, Judge Patrick Chen wrote that, in his view, “Section 4 of the Controlled
Drugs and Substances Act, as it applies to marijuana, ceased to be valid legislation after
July 31, 2001.”

The date refers to the expiry of a one-year grace period set by an Ontario Court of Appeal
ruling from 2000 that Chen referred to in his judgement.

The judge wrote that the Ontario decision “severed the marijuana possession prohibition
from other parts of Section 4 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and declared it
to be invalid, but suspended the declaration of invalidity for a period of one year
‘to provide Parliament with the opportunity to fill the void.’”

A spokeswoman for Vancouver’s police department said earlier this week she hadn’t heard of any
fallout so far from the ruling.

Police ignored Emery and the group of marijuana advocates blowing smoke at their building

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