In the wake of the city-wide Project Claudia dispensary crackdown, a medical cannabis patient has filed a human rights complaint against the City of Toronto for $1 million. The complaint is a direct result of dispensaries closest to him being shut down during the raids.
Raymond Hathaway, a paralegal who uses a cannabis extract called Rick Simpson oil, aka Phoenix Tears, to treat an inoperable tumour in his spine, told VICE that dispensaries in Scarborough, where he lives, were targeted by Project Claudia. As a result, he said he can’t access the medicine he needs to treat pain and swelling caused by the tumour. He’s now suing the city for infringing on his rights.
“I consider this harassment and direct attack on my security of person specifically targeting medical cannabis patient access,”
Having to hunt for new dispensaries to source the oil has “left me with less money resulting in less medication and more pain,” he said.
“As a person with a diagnosed inoperable tumor I am now wasting an inordinate amount of my limited time sourcing and trying to find medication I was using a very specific topical treatment and a very effective oral treatment that is now gone.”
Following the Project Claudia raids, Toronto police said legitimate medical patients would still be able to access cannabis through the federal government’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). But Health Canada-approved licensed producers do not carry Rick Simpson oil.
In February, the MMPR program was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, who said patients should be able to grow their own weed. The government has been given six months to revise the legislation. Additionally, the Supreme Court last year ruled patients have the right to consume cannabis in any form, including edibles.
“The city is enforcing bylaws, and police the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, based on an unconstitutional program that continues to violate access rules even to this day by not offering all medical marijuana products,” Hathaway wrote in his email.
He demanded city officials prove his medication was harmful, and show there are THC “victims” and that labels on products in dispensaries are inaccurate.
Hathaway told VICE he’s not heard back from the city (respondents have 35 days to file a response to a human rights complaint). He’s encouraged other patients to file similar complaints.
A spokesperson for the city told VICE the municipal licensing and standards department, which laid zoning violation charges against dispensaries, is not aware of the complaint.
This post originally appear on VICE.