To deny the history of medical cannabis access does a disservice to our understanding of access in Canada and what it's actually like for patients trying to navigate this system. We've seen the framing of cannabis in the media change rapidly -- I don't doubt much of this is owed to the professionalization of the new federal industry, alongside more research, more interest and, of course, more money.
In all of our discussions on what 'gaps' need to be addressed under the MMPR, the lack of onsite distribution comes up again and again, and is one of the major reasons for the continued proliferation of dispensaries across Canada. It's certainly a more patient-focused option, where usually patients who access dispensaries are often given the option of coming in or having it mailed.
Conversations about cannabis policy are heating up. So it's no surprise that we suddenly seem immersed in claims and counterclaims on a slew of topics related to cannabis use and regulation. The International Centre for Science in Drug Policy has tasked itself with determining the strength of scientific support for such claims. Over the past year, we've been working diligently on scanning the news media and online conversations about cannabis to identify the most oft-repeated or high-profile claims including the ones above related to its use and regulation.
One of the most popular topics on the 2015 elections agenda is legalization and cannabis is by far the most widely used illegal drug in the Canada. People often compare a potential legalization model to alcohol. The way alcohol is regulated in Canada provides some really important public health benefits.
The celebrants on April 20 don't necessarily know the history of how cannabis came to be illegal, but they do know cannabis is less harmful to users than all other illicit drugs and considerably less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. They know that the greatest threat from cannabis lies in its continued illegality by policy makers who wish the evidence would just go away.
The transition from Health Canada's old medical cannabis regulations, to the new regulations removed the right of patients or caregivers to produce their own medicine. This was an important decision which, in the meantime, will prevent the violation of patients' constitutional rights to life, liberty and security. Recently, this injunction was appealed, but yesterday the unanimous decision to uphold the injunction was released, and soon after, lawyer Kirk Tousaw tweeted, "both systems can and should exist."
It's another historical first for Canada's modern medical marijuana market, as the first batch of substandard bud has been recalled. Patients who have been using Greenleaf's product should be worried. Without more information, the reason for the recall could be anything from a minor risk to a serious one.
The seized marijuana all came from designated growers who were licensed to grow for up to two patients each under the old system. These are the same home gardens which Health Canada ordered to be shut down, claiming that they are all mold-ridden, unsafe and unhealthy. Yet at the same time, it's allowed for these growers to sell their product to the newly licensed producers, who can then flip it to patients at a profit? How does any of this make sense?
I want to point out that not a single one of the new licensed producers has ever come out publicly in support of patients' rights to grow their own. And certainly none of these multi-million dollar operations has donated so much as one cent towards this ongoing legal challenge. Why would they? They stand to reap greater profits if patients are forbidden to compete by growing cheaply for themselves.
With dozens of different companies providing medical cannabis, each with different labels and packaging, it will be impossible for an officer to tell if the cannabis in question is really from a licensed producer. I predict widespread proliferation of fake prescription bottles with fake labels and fake contact information. I predict that police will quickly become frustrated in trying to figure out who is valid and who is not.