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The AALL Spectrum® Blog is published by the American Association of Law Libraries. Submissions from AALL members and other members of the legal community are highly encouraged. Opinions and editorial views expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of AALL. AALL does not assume any responsibility for statements advanced by contributors. Previously, the AALL Spectrum Blog was located at aallspectrum.wordpress.com.
1/19/2017 10:00:00 AM

DIGITAL EXTRA "Reference Desk: The Learning Curve" | AALL Spectrum | January/February 2016 | Volume 20, Number 3


Recommendations from the Leadership Development Committee | December 2015 

As a leader, you set goals for yourself and for others in order to meet organizational and departmental objectives. You are tasked with guiding your team to meet their goals in order to achieve overall success. When you have team members with varying skills, this can be challenging.
Setting realistic goals for your team members and empowering them to successfully achieve those goals will propel you forward in your organization and in your career. To learn more, here are some suggested articles about this topic:
To encourage all of us to think about leadership, the Leadership Development Committee highlights short articles in each issue of the monthly AALL E-newsletter and Education Update. Next month our focus will be on how effective leaders keep their team members engaged and challenged. Have a suggestion or request for a topic? Email Jennifer Ash.

Posted By Cara Schillinger at 1/19/2017 10:00:00 AM  0 Comments
12/3/2015 9:24:57 AM

News From North of the Border: Like to bake? Canada’s Supreme Court Okays Medical Marijuana Cookies

When we hear about the war on drugs, we tend to think about the forbidden substances themselves and not so much about the particular forms they might come in. But a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision, R v. Smith, 2015 SCC 34, centered around this very question: why should the possession and smoking of marijuana for medicinal purposes be legal, but the possession and eating of cookies containing a cannabis derivative--for medicinal purposes—be considered illegal?

The accused, Owen Edward Smith, was an employee of the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada, located on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. He himself was not a marijuana user, but part of his job involved the selling of dried marijuana as well as baked cookies and manufactured gel capsules, oils, topical patches, butters and lip balms. These all contained tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), the main active compound in cannabis. Only individuals who had a bona fide medical condition could legally purchase them. Recipe books for other cannabis derivative foods and products were also available for sale through the Club.

The regulations under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19 (“CDSA”) allowed for the medical use of “dried marihuana” (spelled with an “h”, as was customary in European statutes, including those of Britain and France). But the regulations seemed to permit only smoking of the substance, not the extraction of the active medicinal compounds from dried plant to make other products. As a result, Smith was charged in 2009 with the possession of THC for the purpose of trafficking contrary to s. 5(2) of the CDSA, and with possession of cannabis contrary to s. 4(1) of the CDSA.

The question before the court was whether individuals who were authorized to use medical marijuana were prohibited from using it any other way than by smoking it, and whether this restriction violated section 7 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter” is part of Canada’s Constitution, somewhat similar in content to the U.S. Bill of Rights). Section 7 reads “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

The trial court, after listening to a number of experts on the matter, concluded that some patients benefitted from being able to eat or apply the marijuana. Apparently it stayed in the system longer if used in some of those forms. The Court also noted that being restricted to smoking marijuana exposed patients to carcinogenic chemicals and could bring on or aggravate bronchial disorders. The prohibition, therefore, seemed contrary to section 7 of the Charter because sufferers did not have the liberty to decide how to administer a legally permitted medication. A majority of the Court of Appeal upheld the trial court decision citing broader health and safety issues.

Canada’s Supreme Court agreed with the courts below. In their view, the restriction did indeed violate section 7 of the Charter in that Mr. Smith’s liberty interest was at risk, given that he could be incarcerated if found guilty. Those liberty interests were also at stake for patients, since they were prevented from choosing amongst methods to consume the drug even if the prohibited method gave better results. As such, the Court declared that ss. 4 and 5 of the CDSA were of “no force and effect, to the extent that they prohibit a person with a medical authorization from possessing cannabis derivatives for medical purposes.” The decision was good news for medical marijuana users and bakers alike. Mr. Smith was happy, too--the Supreme Court affirmed his earlier acquittal.

Nancy McCormack, Librarian and Associate Professor, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Posted By Nancy McCormack at 12/3/2015 9:24:57 AM  0 Comments