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Ontario Rules Pot Prohibition Unconstitutional

NORML New Zealand Online News Service ==================================
TORONTO, July 31 (Reuters) - Ontario's highest court ruled on Monday that prohibiting the possession of marijuana was unconstitutional.

The Ontario Court of Appeal held the decision for a year to allow Canada to loosen its federal marijuana laws, but failing that, existing laws against the drug's use in the province of Ontario will be struck down, the court said.

Possessing and cultivating marijuana is illegal under Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, but people may apply for special legal use for medicinal purposes.

The Ontario ruling went beyond upholding a lower court's 1997 decision to allow an epileptic man the right to smoke marijuana, the man's lawyer told Reuters.

``They said not only are we in agreement that this law was unconstitutional, but we're not just going to carve out an exemption for (his client), we're going to strike down the law,'' said defence attorney Aaron Harnet.

18:59 07-31-00

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