Health Canada is proposing serious changes to the medical marijuana program. These changes will eliminate the licence for critically and chronically ill people to grow their own medicine, or designate someone to grow it for them. This is the cheapest way a patient can obtain their medicine.
Under the new plan, the sick and pained will have to purchase their medicine through the mail, from a limited number of licensed growers who can afford to meet a strict regulatory scheme. These few new distributors will have a monopoly on the market and have absolutely no incentive to keep the prices low.
This will cause many formerly law abiding citizens to opt to continue growing their own medicine, or to grow for someone they love who can't afford this mail order system. This makes criminals out of law abiding citizens and will subject them to the Conservatives' harsh mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, which also eliminates the option for a discharge of the conviction.
There are sensible alternatives to the current proposal.
Stricter background checks for personal growers, and safety inspections for their grow facilities, will help keep out organized crime and reduce the risk of fires. Instead of taking these reasonable steps to modify the current system, Health Canada wants to increase the cost of prescribed medicine and create criminals out of those who can't afford to buy it.
Speak out against it now. The public comment period ends on Feb. 28.
Send comments to: Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulatory Reform, Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Address Locator: AL3503D Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 1-613-941-7240. See more details at: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/marihuana/future-avenir/index-eng.php.