New Medical Marijuana Rules Too Strict, Canadian Users Say

It is estimated that more than 400,000 people in Canada use marijuana for medical reasons, according to evidence presented in a case in British Columbia. (Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)It is estimated that more than 400,000 people in Canada use marijuana for medical reasons, according to evidence presented in a case in British Columbia. (Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)New federal regulations allowing designated medical marijuana producers to grow cannabis for two approved users of marijuana — up from one — are a “slap in the face,” advocates said Tuesday.

The changes, to be announced Wednesday, come nearly 16 months after a Federal Court judge struck down part of the old regulations as unconstitutional and unnecessarily restrictive.

Alison Myrden, who has been a vocal advocate for users of marijuana for medical purposes, said the changes are an “outrage” and run contrary to the court’s decision.

“None of us will settle for this,” Ms. Myrden said. “This is so disingenuous of our government, because we are sick and dying people. We’ll have to go back to court again.”

The old regulations restricted designated producers to growing cannabis for no more than a single approved user.

Federal Court Justice Barry Strayer ruled in January, 2008, that the one-to-one restriction is “arbitrary,” not “rationally related to legitimate state interests” and violates the principles of fundamental justice.

Instead of amending its regulations to permit larger-scale medical producers, Health Canada appealed the decision.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the government last fall and the government then asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal. The top court declined to do so, in a decision released on April 23.

It is estimated that more than 400,000 people in Canada use marijuana for medical reasons, according to evidence presented in a case in British Columbia.

However, less than 20% of the nearly 3,000 people approved to smoke marijuana for medical reasons access it from the government-approved supplier, because of complaints about the quality.

A spokesman for Health Canada said the new regulations are currently in force.

New Democrat MP Libby Davies said Tuesday the changes were “pretty pathetic” and don’t come close to addressing the needs of authorized users.

“The federal government has always done everything it could not to make the medical marijuana program work properly,” Davies said. “They try to get away with as little as they can to satisfy what has been legally required and this is just a further indication of that.”

Eric Nash, who grows organic marijuana on Vancouver Island through his company, Island Harvest, said he has had more than 300 requests from approved marijuana users.

“It’s just crazy that the federal government and Health Canada will continue to put patients onto the street for their medicine and license all these suppliers yet only allow them to supply one or two people,” Nash said.

There are currently more than 2,000 people allowed to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes — 1,715 hold licences to grow for themselves and 302 are designated to grow for other approved users.

Philippe Lucas, a Victoria city councillor and founder of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, said increasing the number of patients a grower could supply would reduce the number of production facilities.

“The whole basis of this challenge was that the restrictions as they were, with the one-to-one ratio, barred people from having the ability to benefit from the economies of scale by growing in larger scale production facilities,” Lucas said. “If they were to allow a 10-to-one ratio or an unlimited ratio then what we would see in Canada would be a few major producers that would be producing for the needs of hundreds of medical cannabis patients.”

– Article from The National Post on May 26, 2009.

Comments

9 Comments

  1. goerge lenard on

    The neo-con nerd’s flawed ideology takes another slap in the face by the real law in this land, our courts. So in retaliation against those who benefit from medical marijuana he makes it harder for some sick and possibly dying person to use the medicinal qualities of marijuana to enhance the quality of their life or whats left of it! How sick and demented is that! If Harper could have a tabula rosa on Canadian law, how far into dark ages would we be plunged?

  2. J.G.MacNeil on

    The whole labeling of the same mafia group of old as “neo-con” is to imply that there was a significant lapse of time in which imperialist policy was in abatement. And that has not been the case for well over a century.

    The type of immoral people who would even contemplate making laws that infringe on the self-determination of any individual are obviously the crooks. Those people, among whom Harper and Mulroney are especially odious specimen, don’t care about making an equitable society because an equitable society is antinomy to their constant goal of controlling the masses so that they don’t rebel and wreak the great game. Their “war on drugs” is the most stupendously successful program that they’ve had in a long time and it is fulfilling their expectations to the maximum. They would only ever gradually abandon such a successful policy in concert with the implementation of a new population controlling device. And, as in the U.s., the controlling class is more loyal to their class than they are to the country so having either party leading the nation never makes a real difference on internal or foreign policy.

  3. Anonymous on

    Harper is such a spoiled little neo-con nerd. A wise man once said no point in conversing with a man that will not listen. Time to put an end to the right wing minority denying the rights of the Canadian majority and vote the Conservatives out of power. Bush lost, Harper is the same?

  4. J.G.MacNeil on

    Silly boy, growing marijuana is as simple as growing anything. The strategic reason behind having a multitudinous dispersement of growers is to entrench the cultivating of marijuana among the population. And there are several good reasons for that including keeping the “pot pharmacists” from becoming corporations which eventually take over everything and then try to restrict the seed stock. Even in the beginning stages of trying to make inroads into legalization with “medical” marijuana it would be wisest to push for as much independent dispersement as possible because battling for the right to grow for two or three people is futile as long as the government is just pulling your chain to delay the inevitable.

  5. Pug on

    I’m a 21 year old who lives in an apartment and will be in school this coming fall. I can’t grow my own and i don’t know anyone who knows what they are doing to grow for me. Still I would need someone to grow for me. Thus it would be much more simple if someone can grow a lot of great pot and sell it cheap to those who need it and can’t grow it themselves. And if you wanna grow in an apartment… all the power to you but I would have to get permission from the property owner and in most cases are owned by an investment group. Good Luck. Medical growers are like pharmacists and need to be able to distribute to anyone who has document reasons to buy it.

  6. J.G.MacNeil on

    The electricity concern disappears when utilizing compact fluorescents since they only require ordinary light fixtures, so all anyone would need is an extension cord, a timer, ordinary lamps, and a power bar/surge protector. Anyone who can set up an electric coffee pot can handle plugging in a compact fluorescent system. If there is a difficulty it would be in setting up the system for raising and lowering the lights as the plants grow, but even that is simple and has multitudinous solutions. For instance, when I first started I hung a one meter chain from the shower rod in the bathroom, with a hose clamp, and another one meter chain from the hinge on the bathroom door (with the door closed, pop out the hinge pin and insert the pin, with a washer, through the last link of chain and then replace the hinge pin). I used a broom handle as a top bar to hold the surge protector and another broom handle to hold the clamped light fixtures so it could be easily raised or lowered simply by moving the hose clamps on the ends of the broom handle up or down links in the chains.

  7. Anonymous on

    I think they are definitely a good option to consider. Not everybody can grow effectively. I would also guess some folks are physically unable.

    Why not leave it to people who have experience growing and produce an already superior product. I would much rather see people getting their MJ from someone who knows to flush out nutes or is producing organically. I imagine there would be a safety concern for some people who don’t have commonsense when it comes to electricity.

  8. J.G.MacNeil on

    Not to knock anyone that’s growing for someone else, but it’s so easy and comforting to grow your own pot for practically no cost that it should be considered therapeutic for patients to grow their own. For instance, a single person doesn’t need any more than two plants and two baby clones growing at any one time and that can be done, under lights, in perpetuity for less than four hundred dollars start up cost. Including, in my own experience, the “Purps” seed stock from BC Bud Depot. For instance, I grow two or three plants at a time under four 40 watt compact fluorescents and they produce very sticky, lightly compacted, highly resinous buds that are so high in THC that I usually only need to smoke half a joint to get to that plane of euphoria that makes me feel in tune with the universe. And if you want to grow really cheap, but still with awesome quality, you only need to buy quality seeds and grow the plants in front of a window, even if there is only four or five hour of direct sunlight a day.

    Of course, I’m not in any way knocking the need to keep after those unscrupulous government people who are currently ruining our society, but I believe that everyone should be growing their own pot, especially during a recession.