Legal Ease with Kirk Tousaw: Proposed Changes to Canada’s Medical Marijuana Program

CANNABIS CULTURE – Canadian marijuana activist and lawyer Kirk Tousaw discusses the latest legal news from the cannabis culture. In this episode: Kirk analyses the governments proposed changes to Health Canada’s medical marijuana program.

Sweeping changes to Health Canada’s medical marijuana program are underway. What will this mean for medical marijuana users in Canada?

Executive Director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation Kirk Tousaw takes a closer look at the so-called “improvements” to the program. As well, he discusses the court case, R. v. Mernagh, which invalidated the government’s current medical marijuana program. could play heavily into the outcome of the new program.

Watch older episodes of Legal Ease with Kirk Tousaw.

Read Kirk Tousaw’s blog on Cannabis Culture.

Go to, home of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation.

Watch the video on YouTube or watch more videos on Pot TV’s YouTube Channel.



  1. Anonymous on

    Why Marijuana Should Be Legal

    There are plenty of other reasons why marijuana should be legal. Just to name a few:

    Medicinal use: Marijuana can be used as medicine because it helps to stimulate appetite and relieve nausea in cancer and AIDS patients.

    Hemp: The hemp plant is a valuable natural resource. Legalizing marijuana would eliminate the confusion surrounding hemp and allow us to take advantage of hemp’s agricultural and industrial uses.

    Religious Use:Some religions instruct their followers to use marijuana. Just like Christianity and Judaism instruct their followers to drink wine on certain occasions, some Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarian’s, and members of other religions use marijuana as part of their spiritual and religious ceremonies. These people deserve the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that the government cannot ‘prohibit the free exercise’ of religion, and so marijuana should be legal.

    Liberty: people deserve freedom to use marijuana.
    The first and most basic reason that marijuana should be legal is that there is no good reason for it not to be legal. Some people ask ‘why should marijuana be legalized?” but we should ask “Why should marijuana be illegal?” From a philosophical point of view, individuals deserve the right to make choices for themselves. The government only has a right to limit those choices if the individual’s actions endanger someone else. This does not apply to marijuana, since the individual who chooses to use marijuana does so according to his or her own free will. The government also may have a right to limit individual actions if the actions pose a significant threat to the individual. But this argument does not logically apply to marijuana because marijuana is far less dangerous than some drugs which are legal, such as alcohol and tobacco.
    SUMMARY: Individuals deserve the right to decide whether or not they should use marijuana. The government should not tell individuals what to do as long as they do not harm others.

    Cost: keeping marijuana illegal is expensive.
    The second important reason that marijuana should be legal is that it would save our government lots of money. In the United States, all levels of government (federal, state, and local authorities) participate in the “War on Drugs.” We currently spend billions of dollars every year to chase peaceful people who happen to like to get high. These people get locked up in prison and the taxpayers have to foot the bill. We have to pay for food, housing, health care, attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses to lock these people up. This is extremely expensive! We could save billions of dollars every year as a nation if we stop wasting money locking people up for having marijuana. In addition, if marijuana were legal, the government would be able to collect taxes on it, and would have a lot more money to pay for effective drug education programs and other important causes.
    SUMMARY: We would have more money to spend on important problems if marijuana were legal.

    Failure: prohibition doesn’t help.
    The third major reason that marijuana should be legal is because prohibition does not help the country in any way, and causes a lot of problems. There is no good evidence that prohibition decreases drug use, and there are several theories that suggest prohibition might actually increase drug use (i.e. the “forbidden fruit” effect, and easier accessibility for youth). One unintended effect of marijuana prohibition is that marijuana is very popular in American high schools. Why? Because it is available. You don’t have to be 21 to buy marijuana — marijuana dealers usually don’t care how old you are as long as you have money. It is actually easier for many high school students to obtain marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol, because alcohol is legal and therefore regulated to keep it away from kids. If our goal is to reduce drug consumption, then we should focus on open and honest programs to educate youth, regulation to keep drugs away from kids, and treatment programs for people with drug problems. But the current prohibition scheme does not allow such reasonable approaches to marijuana; instead we are stuck with ‘DARE’ police officers spreading lies about drugs in schools, and policies that result in jail time rather than treatment for people with drug problems. We tried prohibition with alcohol, and that failed miserably. We should be able to learn our lesson and stop repeating the same mistake.
    SUMMARY: Prohibition does not work. Education and treatment are better ways to address the drug problem.

  2. Anonymous on

    Dont’ be simple my friend.

    The religious ideological aspect of it is merely the marketing front, it doesn’t begin to depict what motivates them.

    Though, you’d be prefectly correct if you realized that money/control is their god and they go hand in hand. Then you’d be perfectly accurate to say it’s a holy war.

    They operate on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry which generates tens of billions per year. Any business for which sickness and disease boosts profits is a sure investment when all you need to do is make people sicker.

    It’s enforced by law enforcement and that only gives them cause to dip into the tax pool, taking away from other things like education.. which is good because poor people are vulnerable to their control, poor diets, are sicker..

    This should be all be obvious given that they’ve no problem selling medical marijuana but only so long as it supports the aformentioned.

  3. Anonymous on

    “There are many very good lawyers waiting to attack Harper where the legal table is balanced, where the Charter of Rights must be excepted”

    Think you meant to say “accepted”

  4. Guitarod on

    The drug war is really a Holy War. Religious fundamentalists setting laws & policies so they can persecute like they have been for 1000’s of years.
    They have to justify their very existence by creating enemies.

    Don’t most religion’s preach that God loves us all.
    This doesn’t apply to pot smokers or street drug addicts in their minds.
    It does apply to Alcoholics & Prescription drug addicts though.

    Pot growers are doing God’s work by nurturing the very plant that he put on this earth for a reason.

    Prohibition is the work of the Devil.

  5. Anonymous on

    stop cash clubs! stop zion! grow your own!

  6. Bud Grinder on

    You are giving the courts more credit for fairness than they deserve. Occasionally a judge somewhere makes a sensible, correct ruling regarding the charter rights of Canadians who use marijuana but that’s the exception, not the rule. If it was the rule, Canadian jails and prisons wouldn’t, right now this minute, be stuffed with harmless pot users.

    Once Harper has had a chance to load the Supreme Court of Canada with a couple of his right-wing raptureista cronies, any liberal cause, like the charter rights of Canadian pot users, that reaches the Supreme Court will be shot down in flames.

    It isn’t about human rights or civil rights or charter rights any more… its about ideology and currently the bible-thumping, doomsday-preaching whackos have grabbed the upper hand.

  7. Chich on

    Harper took our job!
    He took our job!
    He took our job!
    Seriously…he took our job!

  8. Anonymous on

    The new religious based tough on crime agenda is strictly aimed at people who are not licensed to buy medical marijuana from the people appointed by Harper to sell it. But the ruling by the judge in Ontario was very clear to say that the currant actions by the Government was against the Charter of Rights. Harper will do his best to assure the policing forces that the new religious based belief that a right wing political tough on pot smokers is and will be constitutionally legal, will have to be tested in the courts. This will create a backlog much worse then the one already existing. There are many very good lawyers waiting to attack Harper where the legal table is balanced, where the Charter of Rights must be excepted. Not at a staged speech where the questions from the press have been politically planted to support the lies being told at the podium? Is Harper capable of changing the Charter of Rights to exclude pot smokers? In my study, many people who voted for Harper do smoke pot, and did so with the full knowledge that Harper is against pot smokers? I have faith in the fairness of our courts, but no faith what so ever in the right wing faith healers we have as politicians running and ruining Canada.

  9. Bud Grinder on

    Most of you may be falling for the old “tough on drugs/crime” line but that’s just the cover story being used to sell to the public what’s really going on behind the scenes. If you can penetrate a bit deeper than what appears on the surface, you’ll see clearly, as some of us already have, what the The Harper Government does not want you to figure out… it’s real motives.

    Stephen Harper and his deluded gang of ignorant, mercenary, raptureista thugs, aka “The Harper Government” (their words, not mine), are ecstatic with their new parliamentary majority’s political power and with their religious fantasies, but the God squad isn’t so far out there in rapture-land that they haven’t been able to see that large sums of money are crossing the table in the medical marijuana business.

    Its mostly about all that MONEY, folks. The rest is about the religious crazies’ compulsion to punish.

    Like gangsters anywhere, The Harper Government has smelled a golden opportunity to lock-up all of this lucrative marijuana business exclusively for itself and it’s cronies.

    Here’s how it will work: Once The Harper Government has enacted it’s new Health Canada regulations, its going to field even more armed enforcement agents who will be focused on hunting down everyone who consumes or supplies marijuana outside of The Harper Government’s new monopoly. He has also announced that The Harper Government will spend billions of dollars to expand the Canadian prison gulag to accomodate all the new criminals its going to create with it’s new criminal legislation.

    The Harper Government will be setting up a few of it’s “good old boys” in the licensed medical marijuana business and it will employ the long arm of the law to enforce it’s marijuana monopoly at gunpoint. To finance this new pogrom, the funds generated from sales to legalized medical marijuana consumers can be used to hire more gun-toting thugs and prosecutors and to build more prisons.

    Its good for everyone… except the new criminals.

    The cops get to pursue easy, safe pot smokers instead of dangerous, armed desperados who might actually fight back and hurt them. The courts, judges and lawyers get to process and convict an endless stream of fresh evil doers, thus justifying their own existence. They’ll feed the new convicts into the maw of The Harper Government’s newly enhanced abuse mill where the cowardly operators of the abuse mill get to have well-paid government jobs where they happily express their barely disguised malice and sadisim with impunity while they’re warehousing all those new criminals. The legal medical marijuana patients have an authorized source to obtain their drug from.The Harper Government gets license fees, taxes and political contributions (aka “kickbacks”) from it’s licensed medical marijuana business partners. Oh, and it gets to punish lots more people.

    Everybody wins except for the citizens that The Harper Government says are criminals.

    But, heck, they’re just criminals, right? The Harper Government says so. No-one needs to give a damn about them and their families and their loved ones, right? RIGHT?