If home cultivation is not allowed, then cannabis is not truly legalized in Canada. Canadians must have at least as much right to grow their own cannabis as they do to brew their own beer and wine.
Honest conversations between doctors and patients are crucial in overcoming the barriers to real and effective healthcare solutions. It's time to replace the fear, stigma and misinformation too often associated with medical cannabis with science, reason and compassion.
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.
I know addiction from many different personal and professional angles -- and I ask that you take this letter seriously. I know what I'm talking about.
Marijuana dispensaries in B.C. have yet to define why they exist, who they are for and why anyone should care. They live nostalgically in the anti-establishment, authority-bucking era of sticking it to the man. Changes in legislation and evolving market conditions demand that the medical marijuana industry grow up.
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."
You might have seen the recent headlines: "Cannabis as addictive as heroin, major new study finds", "Study finally demolishes claims that smoking pot is harmless," and "20 years of marijuana research shows ill effects of chronic use." I'm here to tell you: don't believe the hype.
I believe we should get that process started now, instead of waiting for the laws to catch up. The sick and dying people who need cannabis medicines don't have time to wait for the government and Health Canada to get their act together.
Health Canada should be talking to our nation's hemp farmers, helping them to start harvesting and using the valuable resins they're now throwing away. This is our best source for cheap and effective cannabis medicines, with whatever potency, cannabinoid mix and psychoactive effect desired.
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.
Federal regulatory authorities in Canada and the U.S. cannot police this industry since marijuana edibles remain illegal. This lack of oversight presents a serious public safety concern. The question that we as consumers should be asking is: are these new products safe to eat?
Sensible BC has become Canada's largest cannabis reform organization. Our focus for 2014 will be building our network and organization, keeping our issue in the media, fighting several legal challenges, and working towards the municipal elections coming this November.
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.
If Health Canada spent as much time and money on researching medical marijuana and creating a properly run system as they have on court battles against patients, then we'd all be a lot better off. But unless you've just taken a big bong-hit, I wouldn't hold your breath.
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?