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Medical marijuana dispensaries owner challenges constitutionality of possession law

Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton, N.B., on April 14, 2016. The Trudeau government has earmarked just over $274 million to support policing and border efforts associated with the plan to legalize recreational marijuana use.The government said Friday it is committing $161 million of the money to train frontline officers in how to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug-impaired driving and to provide access to drug screening devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward

A Toronto owner of two medical marijuana dispensaries says he was arrested under a law that was unconstitutional.

Police charged Marek Stupak in May 2016 with possession for the purposes of trafficking following city-wide raids.

But Stupak argues the law was not constitutional because, at the time of the raids, the government did not have a valid medical marijuana program in place.

His lawyer says Ontario’s highest court had earlier found that Parliament could not criminalize marijuana use without such a program.

The lawyer tells Superior Court that judges regularly struck down restrictions on reasonable access by patients to medicinal pot.

Dispensaries that sprang up to provide that access were among targets of the police crackdown that led to Stupak’s charges.