QUEBEC CITY — The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Quebec’s ban on possessing and growing a cannabis plant for personal use Thursday morning in a hearing exceptionally taking place in Quebec City.
Janick Murray Hall, best known for his parody website Le Journal de Mourréal, believes the Quebec government does not have the authority to impose this ban under two articles of its cannabis law.
In that case, he defied the Quebec Attorney General, arguing on his behalf and on behalf of any person who might be prosecuted for possession of a cannabis plant that these articles violate exclusive federal jurisdiction in criminal matters.
Federal law legalizing cannabis allows possession of up to four plants in the home, and Murray-Hall believes that legislation should take precedence.
The Quebec Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Murray-Hall in the first instance, invalidating the contested articles of the law constitutionally.
However, the Quebec Court of Appeal reversed that decision and Mr. Murray-Hall subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
When the Supreme Court announced it agreed to hear the case, Quebec Attorney General Simon Jolin-Barrette’s office declined to comment “given the ongoing legal process.”
“Nevertheless, Quebec will always defend its responsibilities. The law in question aims to protect the health and safety of the population, especially young people,” emphasized the Minister’s spokeswoman, Élisabeth Gosselin.
In addition to hearing from attorneys for Mr. Murray-Hall and representatives from the Quebec Attorney General, the Supreme Court’s nine justices will hear from many other stakeholders, such as other provincial attorneys general and the Canadian Cancer Society.
The Supreme Court of Canada is holding hearings outside of Ottawa for the second time in its history to be more open and accessible and to help the public better understand its role.
“After all, it’s hard to trust something you don’t understand,” Chief Justice Richard Wagner said Wednesday before a first hearing at the Quebec City courthouse.
During their week in the Quebec capital, the judges met with high school students as well as members of the general public. Their visit is scheduled to end on Friday with a round table with law students from Laval University.
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