BCCLA Slams Medical Marijuana Reforms

The federal government’s plan to reform Health Canada’s medical marijuana program is not dope, says the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

Last month, the federal government launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to the program, following a recent Ontario court decision that struck down the program as unconstitutional.

Currently, people seeking marijuana for medical purposes must first get a declaration from a licensed medical practitioner before they can apply to Health Canada for authorization to possess pot. Existing regulations also allow authorized patients or a designated person to get a licence to grow their own medical marijuana.

Under the proposed changes, doctors would directly authorize patients to use medical marijuana and patients would have to purchase it from commercial producers licensed by Health Canada.

But BCCLA’S Micheal Vonn said Health Canada’s proposal is heading in the wrong direction.

“Patients have a constitutional right to access (medical marijuana) without fear of criminal prosecution,” she said.

The BCCLA is also calling for the development of a “non-profit or price-regulated production and distribution system” based on the “compassion clubs” model.

Dana Larsen, director of the Vancouver Dispensary Society, said he would like to see dispensaries brought into the program because they have the ability to work with producers and growers, offer organic-quality product and provide one-on-one consultation and education.

– Article from Metro Vancouver.

BCCLA decries Harper government’s plan to reform medical marijuana program

By Stephen Thomson, The Georgia Straight

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is speaking out against the federal government’s plan to reform the program that provides legal access to medical marijuana.

In June, Health Canada launched a public consultation on proposed changes to the medical marijuana access program, following an Ontario court decision that ruled the program is unconstitutional.

Under the proposed changes, physicians would directly authorize patients to use medical marijuana and only commercial producers licensed by Health Canada could legally grow and sell the dried pot.

Existing federal regulations allow authorized patients to obtain a licence for themselves or a designated person to grow medical marijuana.

The BCCLA has joined a chorus of marijuana activists who are decrying the federal government’s plan, saying it will not help those suffering from serious illness.

The BCCLA says healthcare providers who aren’t doctors should also be allowed to authorize the use of medical marijuana.

“Health Canada’s proposal is to provide doctors with up-to-date information on medical marihuana but the lingering stigma of marihuana criminalization isn’t going to be fixed with some brochures for doctors,” the BCCLA’s Micheal Vonn said in a statement today (July 26).

– Read the entire article at The Georgia Straight.