(2001) High Society - The Harm Reduction Club [1of3](2001) High Society - The Harm Reduction Club [2of3](2001) High Society - The Harm Reduction Club [3of3](2003) Canada's Supreme Court hears marijuana challenge - Dana Larsen
The main point of the legal debate was the concept of "harm" and the disparity between the minimal harm caused by the sale and use of marijuana as compared to the severe penalties given for those offences. Lower courts had ruled that the harm caused by the use of cannabis was minimal, but still more than trivial, and so the government could arbitrarily criminalize it for that reason.
David Malmo-Levine told the court that he wanted to shift the debate, to focus not on whatever specific amount of harm is caused by cannabis use, but rather on how best to reduce or eliminate those potential harms. Malmo-Levine argued that when done properly, any potential harms involved in the use and sale of cannabis products can be successfully mitigated or lowered to negligible levels.
As an example of a responsible dealer, Malmo-Levine described his Harm Reduction Club. Malmo-Levine's club sold marijuana only to members who first read a "Safer, Smarter Smoking Guide" and also promised not to operate heavy machinery while impaired. The Club also sold only organically grown cannabis, so as to eliminate the harms caused by pesticides and over-fertilization.
The court seemed receptive to the arguments presented them, but it is impossible to predict what their ultimate decision will be. There is typically a six to eight month waiting period for such a decision, so there will hopefully be a ruling issued by the court before the end of the year.More