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Health Canada proposes changes to medical marijuana


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Health Canada plans to treat marijuana like other medicines

Individuals would no longer be permitted to grow their own


A proposal released by Health Canada would treat medical marijuana more like medicine and effectively commercialize its production and distribution.

"Current medical marijuana regulations have left the system open to abuse," Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq stated in a press release on Sunday.

She said the proposed Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) would help control illegal activity, while also allowing easier access for those patients who have genuine medical needs.

"These changes strike the right balance between patient access and public safety," she said

Essentially, the new system will create licensed grow-ops that people could shop at, provided they have a prescription from their doctor. The regulations would allow for a regulated commercial market of licensed producers.

Currently, those who wish to use medical marijuana must apply for a permit from the government in order to either grow it themselves or buy it from a single government grower.

Adam Greenblatt, executive director of the Montreal-based Medical Cannabis Society (MCAS), said his organization advised Health Canada on the new regulations last summer.

"Unfortunately, they didn't take all of our counsel, which would have resulted in a far more patient-friendly regime," he stated.

Among its proposals, the MMPR suggests the price of medical marijuana should rise to $8.80 per gram. It currently it ranges from $1.80 to $5 per gram.

The regulation also says it would no longer permit individuals to grow their own marijuana, a move that Greenblatt says is unfair.

"For many patients who grow their own, this is one step forward and two steps back," he said.

Despite some issues, Greenblatt remained optimistic. He said the merging of a social justice movement with the commercial sector will undoubtedly be a "bumpy ride."

"Creating a commercial marketplace is ostensibly progressive," he added.

Highlights from the proposed regulations:

  • Elimination of production of marijuana by individuals in their homes.

  • An end to Health Canada's role in authorizing the production, possession, supplying and distributing of marijuana.

  • Establishment of a regulated commercial market for licensed producers.

  • Patients would no longer be required to apply to Health Canada and submit their personal medical information to the government.

  • Patients would obtain a medical document (similar to a prescription) and purchase marijuana directly from the producer.

  • Individuals would not be required to consult a specialist in addition to their normal health care practitioner.

The proposed regulations are expected to come into force in the spring.

Details of the new regulations will be available on Health Canada's website and the public can weigh in during a 75-day comment period, which ends on Feb. 28, 2013.


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Next they will take our bullet molds and make possession of raw lead a crime? .. there is much abuse of current law with good reason .. it is archaic .. next they are going to say you canna own your own chickens without a permit ..

Edit: We shall just continue to "grow our own" regardless ..

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Local medical marijuana users fear new legislation that limits home growing


Steven Stairs with a marijuana plant he is licensed to grow in his home.

Patients who rely on medical marijuana may find it more difficult to get after the federal government announced major changes to the existing system.

Winnipegger Steven Stairs relies on the drug to treat his glaucoma and relieve his pain, and he’s one of 26,000 Canadians with a license to grow medical marijuana.

Under proposed changes to existing regulations, those Canadians will no longer be able to grow their own pot.

Canada’s Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, said recently, “Current medical marijuana regulations have left the system open to abuse.”

Under new regulations, the Canadian government and individual growers will no longer be able to produce their own pot. Instead, private companies will produce the marijuana and sell it to patients. The changes are aimed at reducing crime, but opponents believe it will drive more people to the black market.

“They’re making it harder for people to get the medicine they need, and it’s going to mean more and more profits in the hands of organized crime,” said Mark Calderaro of the Carleton University Young Liberals.

The proposed changes will also mean higher costs for patients.

That, according to Stairs, is concerning for people who rely on medical marijuana.

“A lot of people who are using medical marijuana are disabled,” said Stairs. “They have a lower income earning ratio already.”

The federal government is planning on implementing the new system by March 31, 2014.

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The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has been pushing for changes for several years claiming that it is too easy for criminals to be involved.

Jim Chu, Chief Constable of the Vancouver Police, spoke Sunday on behalf of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which praised the announced changes.

Chu said the association’s drug abuse committee has documented “many negative consequences” of the medical marijuana program. For instance, even licensed growers hire unlicensed plumbers and electricians to help them set up their operation, which can increase the risk of fires and flooding, Chu said.

Chu also said some individuals abuse the system by applying for multiple licenses, while others sell the marijuana when they grow more than they can use.

Growers are also at risk from criminals who would rather just steal marijuana to sell.

“These changes are necessary to reduce the risk of abuse and exploitation by criminal elements,” Chu told the B.C. news conference.

Medical associations OTOH want nothing to do with this sort of regime and do not want their members writing prescriptions for a substance that has not been shown to be of consistent quality and benefit.

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The Canadian Medical Association is critical of the new policies on medical marijuana.

Federal Government dumping medical marijuana responsibility onto doctors

OTTAWA, Dec. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is concerned about the federal government's decision to vacate its role in managing the federal medical marijuana access program. The CMA decries the decision, which fails to put patients first and leaves doctors to deal with a pharmacological substance for which there is very little clinical evidence.

"The federal government established the program and is now abdicating its role as a regulator of medical marijuana," Dr. Anna Reid, President of the CMA, said. "Not only does prescribing drugs that haven't been clinically tested fly in the face of a physician's training and ethics, the potential benefits or adverse effects of marijuana haven't been rigorously tested. I have seen teens with psychosis because of marijuana use."

"There's huge potential for harm to patients and the federal government's decision is equivalent to asking doctors to prescribe while blindfolded," said Dr. Reid. "We expressed our concerns to Health Canada during its consultation, but it seems that we were not fully heard."

The comments come in the wake of proposed regulations changing the federal government's Medical Marijuana Access Program. The proposed changes were announced today by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. They would absolve Health Canada from its current role in authorizing the use of medical marijuana by patients and certifying its safety and efficacy. The CMA, along with other national medical associations, repeatedly expressed discomfort with the proposals during Health Canada consultations on the matter.

"Let's be clear: The marijuana of today is not the marijuana of the past. The strains are very powerful and different strains have different effects," said Dr. Reid. "Patients wouldn't want us to prescribe drugs for heart disease, cancer or any other illness without the scientific evidence to back those drugs up. Why does the federal government want us to do so with marijuana?"


To access comments from CMA President Dr. Anna Reid via a video statement:


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