Medical marijuana users can now possess the drug in forms other than dried leaves

Pot brownies, tea okay for approved users: court

Judge's ruling widens authorized medical possession of marijuana beyond just dried leaves

Medical marijuana users can legally eat pot brownies or drink THC tea rather than just smoke the drug, B.C. Supreme Court has ruled.

Justice Robert Johnston found Health Canada’s Medical Marijuana Access Regulations unreasonably limited users to possessing only the dried form of pot.

The judge ruled users should be able to choose “how to ingest the medicinal ingredients in the safest and most effective manner” and that the rules are unconstitutional.

The decision is part of a marijuana trafficking case against Victoria man Owen Smith, the hired baker of the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of Canada, who turned marijuana into cookies, oils, capsules and ointments for the club’s 3,700 members.

Defence lawyers argued the dried-only rule forces people to smoke to get the medical benefit, adding that’s more unhealthy than eating it or applying it topically.

The court heard evidence that orally consumed marijuana may deliver the therapeutic benefit more directly for gastrointestinal conditions and that oral ingestion prolongs the effects, which is important for those with chronic pain or glaucoma.

Crown prosecutors argued the rule allowing medical users possession of dried pot only helps police or regulators easily determine if a user is exceeding the possession limit, which would be more complex if a user instead had marijuana cookies or cannabis butter.

“I conclude that this restriction is arbitrary,” Johnston ruled. “I am not prepared to infer that it is necessary to restrict medical marijuana to its dried form in order to make enforcement of the drug laws possible.”

The decision was a ruling on part of the evidence in the case against Smith, which is still slated to go to trial because he may have provided pot products to non-authorized users.

It’s not clear whether the ruling will take effect immediately or if Crown will appeal.