Cannabis Law on Earth

Professor Emeritus Alan Young

April 18, 2020 Russell Bennett, Cannabis Lawyer, Episode 1
Cannabis Law on Earth
Professor Emeritus Alan Young
Show Notes

Alan Young is the best.

I am proud to have the Cannabis Law in Canada Podcast kick-off with a great interview with Professor Emeritus Alan Young, a retired law professor and lawyer.

I met Alan when shooting my documentary, STONED: Hemp Nation on Trial in 1996-1997. He allowed me and my cinematographer, Jeremy Benning, access to the defence strategy room, defence witnesses and provided several engaging interviews with me. He is still as smart, funny and insightful as ever.

Alan received his BA from York University, his LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School, and his LLM from Harvard University prior to be called to the bar of Ontario.

Alan taught criminal law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University for over 30 years, while simultaneously challenging the state's authority to criminalize consensual activity, which included constitutional challenges to Canada's gambling, obscenity, bawdy-house and drug laws.

For nearly two decades, Alan provided free legal services to those whose alternative lifestyles brought them into conflict with the law. He represented countless numbers of people suffering from AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis who were charged after using marijuana for medicinal purposes, and as a result of these cases, the Federal Government was compelled to create a regulatory program authorizing the use of medical cannabis.

Alan was also responsible for an early constitutional challenge to the possession of marijuana offence (R v. Clay, [2002] SCJ No 88 (SCC)), which fundamentally changed the public’s perception of the harms associated with cannabis use. I was fortunate enough to film the story of this case and present it to Canada with a premier of STONED on CBC Newsworld and following on City-tv in 1998.

Canadian Lawyer magazine recognized the contributions Professor Young has made to the law and named him one of the “Top 25 Most Influential” in the justice system and legal profession in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He is the author of Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers and Lawyers and a playwright.

My conversation with Alan was so much fun and enlightening. I hope you enjoy Alan as much as I do.

Engineering of this podcast is by Jeremy Benning.

Music was created and performed by Albert Wong.

Thank you to Jeremy Benning, our co-producer and sound editor.

And thank you to Albert Wong, who created and performed our beautiful music.

For more insightful conversations related to cannabis law, listen to our other episodes at

If you're looking for a good text book on Canada's federal cannabis law and regulations with helpful related case law, read Canada's Cannabis Act.

And if you need a cannabis lawyer, ask Russell for more information at