Shakeup in Medical Marijuana Rankles Manitobans

New rules on medical marijuana will make it too expensive and too hard to purchase, Manitoba patients fear. Health Canada, meanwhile, says the rule changes will make purchasing medical marijuana safer and more efficient.

A new program, called the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulation (MMPR), will take effect on April 1, 2014, replacing the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). The new program was announced June 19, although discussions about changes to the existing program were already taking place in December 2012.

That’s when Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the government would no longer produce marijuana.

Under the current program, patients who qualified were allowed to grow their own marijuana if they followed certain rules. They were also able to buy marijuana from Health Canada directly. Under the new rules, patients will no longer be able to grow marijuana. Instead, approved private companies would be able to produce and sell marijuana to patients.

Steven Stairs says the new rules will, among other things, mean many patients will no longer be able to afford marijuana. He runs the Manitoba branch of the Marijuana Party of Canada and is licensed to grow marijuana under the old program and smokes it to control his glaucoma.

Stairs also represents students with disabilities at the University of Manitoba, and said the cost of marijuana will go up if it is grown by private companies.

– Read the entire article at Winnipeg Free Press.