Canada's medical marijuana users can now legally consume the drug just about any way they like -- a victory for those who say smoking cannabis compromises their health.
The country's Supreme Court on Thursday overruled a federal law banning alternative methods of medical pot consumption, calling the law arbitrary, The Globe and Mail reported. Medical marijuana users, they say, can now consume pot in food, lozenges, or even lip balm.
The legislative battle began in 2009, when Canadian Owen Smith was arrested for baking more than 200 cannabis-infused cookies for medical marijuana patients at the pot "club" where he worked. According to The Globe and Mail, Smith was charged with illegal trafficking and possession of marijuana. The trial court ruled in Smith's favor, and the federal government appealed, taking the case to the nation's highest court.
Not everyone is happy about Thursday's ruling. Particularly, the country's conservative government objects to it. Health Minister Rona Ambrose told reporters Thursday she is "outraged," The Globe and Mail reported. Ambrose went further, accusing the high court of "steering young people toward marijuana use."
David-George Oldham, who founded a consortium of cannabis patients, doctors, activists and chemists called The ARC, told CBC News, "It's a positive — it's a great thing for patients ... and people who need extracts who can't smoke their cannabis or don't even want to in the first place."
The use of medical marijuana is similarly controversial in the United States, where the issue remains up to states to decide. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia now allow for “comprehensive public medical marijuana” use. Only four states permit the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.