R. Jeanette Martin
I felt the agony of defeat Friday, February 1, when the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned an Ontario Superior court ruling in my case.
The earlier ruling eliminated the federal government med pot program that was not allowing access to the program to sick people who could not get a doctor to sign the required papers.
But the feds won their appeal last week, and prohibition continues for people with medical problems. And now they're going to have to figure out some way to get green.
Easier said than done. But the Court of Appeal is not so sure. I should be in the government's program because of my brain tumour, fibromyalgia and scoliosis, but a doctor won't sign the Health Canada application to make me legal.
After eight months of pondering, the Court of Appeal finally pointed out the weakness in our case: we didn't call a doctor to testify. Without doctors, we had no argument, it said.
About the only thing both courts appear to agree on somewhat is that I should possess a med pot licence. However, the Court of Appeal wondered why a doctor won't sign me up, while the lower court accepted our slew of documentation showing lack of doctor support.
In the lower court, we successfully argued that the government program is an illusion, but the Court of Appeal dismissed this idea, too.
The higher court went on to clarify that just because the other witnesses and I are ill doesn't give us an automatic right to med pot. People in Health Canada's med pot program are permitted an exemption from the prohibition - that is all. There is no inherent right.
The lower court believed I was entitled to medicate with marijuana, but the Court of Appeal ruled that this was an error in judgment. From this stemmed a slew of further legal mistakes, it reasoned, that led to our earlier victory.
All of us - myself, our witnesses, my lawyer who framed the argument and the lower court judge who erred in reading case law - were given a full helping of legal lessons by the justices.
My lawyer and I are going to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. It's not automatic we'll get it, but we're not roached yet.