Ontario judge strikes down mandatory minimum sentence for pot growing

An Ontario judge has struck down one of the Conservative government’s signature drug laws – a six-month minimum jail term for growing between six and 200 marijuana plants for the purpose of trafficking.

The ruling came after a constitutional challenge brought by a man who had pleaded guilty to working in a grow-op. The man, Duc Vu, 42, of Brampton, Ont., called the minimum sentences for growing marijuana “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And the judge agreed.

Mandatory minimums have been a pillar of the federal government’s approach to crime, with the Conservatives creating 60 mandatory minimum prison terms for drugs, guns, sex offences and other crimes, according to the Justice Department.

The ruling applies only in Ontario, although it could be influential if similar challenges occur in other provinces. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada could not be reached for comment on whether...

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