Current media reports have highlighted that doctors can legally demand a fee to fill out this form because it is not an insured service. But really, the difference between the medical document and a prescription is clearly one of semantics. By paying hundreds of dollars to have doctors fill out medical documents, we are inadvertently reinforcing the stigma surrounding cannabis for medical purposes -- the idea that there is something "illegitimate" about cannabis' therapeutic potential and the patients who use it.
It's amazing what we do to maintain oral health. We brush our teeth, floss those gums, swirl mouthwash, endure whitening strips, and even suck on myriad different breath fresheners. All the while we hope to keep our dentists happy with our efforts. Now another option to help keep our teeth white and our breath pleasant has emerged: probiotic gum.
The case of Quebec provides a cautionary tale, as the prevalence of tobacco use has hovered around 24 per cent since 2003 despite a doubling of the price of cigarettes. And to the extent that tobacco taxes do reduce consumption, they can end up reducing total tax receipts, thus working against the competing and contradictory government objective of raising revenue.
With all the rapid change around medical cannabis and talk about legalization efforts, it's important to note that these changes are not without challenge: women's disproportionate responsibility for dependent children intensifies the risk associated with smoking cannabis and being known as a cannabis user.
Pop may become the new tobacco: still consumed by the few (and should be fewer) but spurned by the many. We'll need to watch and wait. Meanwhile advocates (including myself) might do better to focus more time and energy on other regulatory interventions to promote health. The industry may be its own undoing.
Health Canada has recently announced a proposed amendment that will require licensed producers (LPs) under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) to submit information about the doctors who are prescribing cannabis to provincial medical licensing authorities. In my opinion, this is another backhanded attempt to further de-legitimize the traction cannabis has been gaining in Canada and to appease the powerful institutions that surround federally authorized access.
The past has shown us in many ways that for real change, we have to find ways to work with the system, because it's a powerful one. We also need to think about how the values of a movement can remain intact even as entrepreneurs are, in some cases, displacing activists and the grassroots activism that provided access to many individuals across the country.
Some major drawbacks with this new program (although there are many) include the reliance on mail/courier delivery as opposed to storefront sales, issues with affordability, the exclusion of sold extracts (such as hashish, oils, tinctures and edibles), and the loss of personal production rights more generally.
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.