A Dose of Human Rights: An Antidote to the Criminal Prohibition of Cannabis for Medical Use?
Criminal Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 251-262, 2009
12 Pages Posted: 26 May 2010 Last revised: 19 Nov 2013
Date Written: 2009
This article investigates whether statutory or constitutional bills of rights have the potential to allow cannabis to be legally available, on human rights grounds, for persons who require its use for medical purposes. While successful human rights challenges to the absolute prohibition of cannabis over the past decade have been mounted by medical users and suppliers in Canada to secure legal access to marijuana for medical purposes, similar human rights challenges in the United States and the United Kingdom have so far been unsuccessful. After reviewing these challenges, it is concluded that the passage of human rights laws, whether in the form of statutory or constitutional bills of rights, does not necessarily guarantee that the medical use of marijuana will be legalized in Australia. However, this article also recognizes that human rights discourse may nevertheless contribute to the legitimization of the medical use of cannabis, which could eventually lead to the legislative exemption of medical users of cannabis from the general provisions of criminal drug laws.
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