Health Canada to Drop Medical Marijuana Grow-op Licenses
After admitting it is ill-equipped to track abuses of the medical marijuana grow-op licenses it issues, Health Canada says it wants to eliminate them altogether and replace them with a mail-order system.
"With over 20,000 Canadians using medical marijuana and each of them theoretically being able to grow it in their own home, this creates a system that would require massive amounts of people to inspect thousands of homes," a spokesman told Sun News.
"The new system will be designed to eliminate as much abuse as possible while making sure patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana are able to access it."
While false reports surfaced Thursday that Health Canada had no record of a single inspection of any grow-op it licensed, Johanne Bealieu, director of the Medical Marijuana Access Program (MMAP), scrambled to tell Sun News it has indeed conducted inspections.
"We do about 160 inspections a year," she said. "We did 75 inspections of license holders under the MMAP in 2010."
Regardless, Health Canada wants to stop issuing the two classes of licenses to grow -- one gives the medical marijuana user permission to grow; the other allows an individual to produce the drug on behalf of the user) -- and replace it with a mail-order system.
The new program would eliminate licenses from getting into the hands of organized crime groups, Beaulieu said.
An RCMP report found roughly one-third of marijuana trafficking and production cases involved licensed individuals growing more than the allowable amount.
Russell Barth, a medical marijuana user and activist, believes the regulation of the drug is a necessarily complex issue and that any proposed solution should reflect that.
Simply eliminating all licenses because a few have been abused by gangs will likely not deter criminal organizations, which produce and distribute drugs regardless of licenses, and will hurt the people the program was intended to help.
- Read the entire article at Toronto Sun.