Medical cannabis law reform: Lessons from Canadian litigation

Ian Freckelton

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This editorial reviews medicinal cannabis litigation in Canada's superior courts between 1998 and 2015. It reflects upon the outcomes of the decisions and the reasoning within them. It identifies the issues that have driven Canada's jurisprudence in relation to access to medicinal cannabis, particularly insofar as it has engaged patients' rights to liberty and security of the person. It argues that the sequence of medicinal schemes adopted and refined in Canada provides constructive guidance for countries such as Australia which are contemplating introduction of medicinal cannabis as a therapeutic option in compassionate circumstances for patients. In particular, it contends that Canada's experience suggests that strategies calculated to introduce such schemes in a gradualist way, enabling informed involvement by medical practitioners and pharmacists, and that provide for safe and inexpensive accessibility to forms of medicinal cannabis that are clearly distinguished from recreational use and unlikely to be diverted criminally maximise the chances of such schemes being accepted by key stakeholders.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)719-738
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

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