A court case to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada could have major repercussions on Quebec’s plan to regulate marijuana. And any other Canadian province, for that matter.
The case in question involves a New Brunswick man, Gerard Comeau, who is fighting Canada’s alcohol laws.
Back in 2012, Comeau came to Quebec, bought some alcohol, and drove back to New Brunswick.
Along the way, however, Comeau was arrested by the RCMP for violating liquor laws that state only so much alcohol can be brought from one province into another.
Comeau was ticketed for the infraction, but fought the fine. Comeau’s defence was that, according to Section 121 of the Constitution Act, all items purchased in Canada can move, unencumbered, throughout the nation.
Basically, Comeau’s lawyers made the argument that Canada’s founding fathers planned for a single, free market for Canadian products.
Comeau won the case, and now it’s being taken to the Supreme Court for another look.
It’s likely, according to experts cited by Global News, that the Supreme Court will side with Comeau in its ruling.
And if Comeau’s defence does hold up in the Supreme Court, then the regulatory framework for marijuana to-be imposed in Quebec (or Ontario) could be dismantled, to a degree.
But what does alcohol have to do with marijuana?
Well, their both controlled substances. Legal experts believe that if Comeau wins his case a precedent will be set, giving the chance for other Canadians to contest strict marijuana regulations and provincial monopolies.
For example, under Quebec’s current regulatory framework, ordering marijuana by-mail from another province won’t really be allowed.
But under the potential-precedent set by Comeau’s case, which could establish a single Canadian market for controlled substances, that piece of legislation can be contested.
Companies who don’t want to see provinces control the sale of marijuana could also use this as a chance to argue for a freer cannabis market.
No one really knows how the judicial precedent will impact marijuana regulation, mainly because the ruling hasn’t made yet, so it’s all up in the air.
Still, lawyers, activists, and trade experts believe Comeau’s case will have repercussions related to marijuana regulation.
And if strict marijuana regulation, as we’ll see in Quebec, isn’t contested in court, the same experts believe that the black market sale of cannabis will continue to thrive.