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Jenna Valleriani

PhD graduate in Sociology and the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies at the University of Toronto

Dr. Jenna Valleriani is a recent PhD graduate in Sociology and the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research over the last five years looks at drug policy, particularly focused on illegal and legal cannabis markets in Canada. Jenna is a Strategic Advisor for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP), the advisory committee for the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE), and a member of NORML Canada.
Chris Wattie / Reuters

More Canadian Employers Need To Cover Medical Marijuana

Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws recently made headlines by announcing they will cover medical cannabis for their employees. But the devil is always in the details. While these two chains should be praised for their progressive steps forward, we also need to ask who this coverage is provided for, how much is being covered, as well as how this fits with the overall long-term strategy to position pharmacies as the front-line dispensers of medical cannabis.
04/06/2017 03:21 EDT
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We Need To Stop Infantilizing Young Adults Over Cannabis Access

Since the Task Force announced their recommendations for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada last week, the focus has predominantly been on age restrictions, suggested in the report at 18 years old with provincial autonomy to mirror drinking ages. While the media frames this as "Trudeau OK with Canadians as young as 18 accessing cannabis", I find myself questioning why we continue to speak about young adults who are 18 and 19 as if they are children.
12/19/2016 10:12 EST
Chris Wattie / Reuters

There's Been No Bait-And-Switch On Cannabis Legalization

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently expressed frustration around the current cannabis landscape, explaining, "Until we have brought in the proposed system... the current prohibition stands," and encouraging police to enforce the law, particularly as it pertains to the continued expansion of medical cannabis dispensaries in major cities across Canada. The response has been one of uniform frustration from many angles, but I don't believe Justin Trudeau actually lied about the Liberal party's intentions on the cannabis file.
12/09/2016 10:22 EST
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Activism in Canada's Medical Cannabis Industry is Evolving

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.
10/20/2015 03:47 EDT
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Value of On-Site Cannabis Dispensaries Is Missed in Federal Regulations

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.
08/28/2015 08:02 EDT
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The Greatest Threat From Cannabis Lies in its Illegality

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.
04/06/2015 11:18 EDT
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New Medical Marijuana Laws Remove the Rights of Patients

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."
12/23/2014 12:18 EST
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Doctors Shouldn't Charge Extra To Write Out a Prescription

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.
09/22/2014 05:09 EDT
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Marijuana Prescribing Doctors Shouldn't Be Scrutinized

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.
06/19/2014 12:58 EDT