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Will Canada Be The Next Country To Make Cannabis A Human Right?

Last week, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that access to cannabis is a human right. Canada could follow suit.

On Nov. 6, Kelly Anderson contacted the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission to register a complaint following the closure of the medicinal cannabis dispensary that he frequented in Saskatoon.

On Oct. 29, Saskatoon police had raided the Saskatchewan Compassion Club and arrested four people - including owner Mark Haulk - on charges of possessing and trafficking marijuana. Haulk opened his business knowing that it was illegal. Health Canada prohibits storefront cannabis dispensaries. Patients can only legally obtain marijuana through a mail-order system.

Mark Haulk runs the Saskatchewan Compassion Club in Saskatoon.

In September, Haulk received a notice warning him to close his business, but he refused. "I only wanted to help people who needed their medicine," the told CBC following the arrest.

Those people include Anderson, who uses cannabis to treat chronic pain. "It's cruel. It's denying people medicine that need it," Anderson told The Star Phoenix.

Anderson's not just arguing for his rights. He wants to see medicinal cannabis dispensaries across the country protected from police crackdowns.

"I want this taken care of so that these dispensaries can exist until the municipal government or the federal government can come and put up the regulations, otherwise let these guys self-regulate," he told Global News.

His complaint cites Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison and police chief Clive Weighill for their involvement in closing the Compassion Club, which has since reopened (minus marijuana). Anderson claims that the actions of the mayor and the police have violated the province's Human Rights Code, which protect people from being discriminated against based on disabilities or medical conditions.

If the superior court of Saskatchewan dismisses the complaint, Anderson can appeal first to the province's court of appeal and then to the Supreme Court of Canada, which could put cannabis prohibition itself on trial.

h/t CBC, Global News, Star Phoenix, National Post


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