Health Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program Fails Patients

Health Canada should get out of the medical marijuana business, says a new health group that wants to take over dispensing pot to patients.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries says the government’s program has been a bust for the past 10 years. It cites several court rulings that say Health Canada has created unnecessary barriers for people who need marijuana for medical reasons, including HIV, arthritis, and epilepsy.

“The courts have upheld the work of dispensaries, but there isn’t any legislation or regulation to match that,” said Rielle Capler, who sits on the CAMCD advisory board.

The group advocates for compassion clubs, which dispense pot to the sick for a fee.

The clubs, which have been popping up across Canada, operate in a legal grey area. Over the past decade, a number of court cases have dealt with questions about the legitimacy and necessity of medical marijuana cultivators.

The only legal way to purchase medical marijuana is through Health Canada, which offers one strain of marijuana to authorized users. However, patients maintain that different strains of marijuana — which they can get at compassion clubs — offer different kinds of relief.

“Different strains work for different conditions,” said Rade Kovacevic, who runs the Medical Cannabis Centre in Guelph, Ont.

Canada became the first country to regulate medicinal marijuana use through the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations in 2001. According to Health Canada data from January 2010, nearly 5,000 Canadians have been authorized to use pot for medical purposes.

Authorized medical marijuana users are able to grow pot themselves, find someone to grow it, or they can get it through the mail from Health Canada.

Health Canada wasn’t immediately available for comment.

– Article from The Toronto Sun.