Pubdate: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2000 The Toronto Star
Contact:  One Yonge St., Toronto ON, M5E 1E6
Fax: (416) 869-4322
Author: Tim Harper, Toronto Star Ottawa Bureau
Bookmark: Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada


Clinical Trials To Use 85 Kilograms In First Year

Government-regulated marijuana for coming clinical trials of its 
therapeutic value will pack much more of a kick than the research pot being 
grown in the United States, documents obtained by The Star indicate.

The most recent plans published by Health Canada indicate 100,000 joints, 
from 85 kilograms of government pot, will be used in the first year of 
clinical research. That amount will be doubled in years two to five of a 
five-year plan.

The Canadian-grown pot will have a 5 to 6 per cent concentration of 
tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana which 
provides the "buzz" for users, the documents say. Similar American research 
used marijuana containing 3 to 4 per cent THC content.

The documents were obtained under Access to Information legislation by 
Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin.

The May 1 "Statement of Work" for Health Canada also indicates Ottawa would 
produce 29,400 placebo joints with less than 0.1 per cent THC.

The final decision on a series of plans for the government cultivation 
project rests with Health Minister Allan Rock. The minister will also 
choose the supplier.

One of the potential contractors shortlisted by Health Canada has suggested 
turning the so-called Diefenbunker, the government nuclear bomb shelter 
built for former Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, as a 
potential hydroponic growing site.

Rock has given the go-ahead to study the effects of marijuana for relieving 
some of the pain of those suffering from diseases like cancer and AIDS.

An early business plan for a government-regulated marijuana crop suggests 
expensive security safeguards would be needed to guard against theft of the 
pot from government employees.

Alternatively, the plan, prepared for Rock by BDO Dunwoody and Associates, 
warns of a "medium" threat of vandalism from anti-drug activists who could 
be expected to trash Ottawa's marijuana crop.

Either would damage the government's reputation; the plan recommends about 
$340,000 to protect the government-controlled marijuana stash. The business 
plan was produced a year ago as a guideline for Rock as his department 
began preparations for the production of marijuana to be smoked for 
therapeutic reasons.

The final decision rests with the health minister

The management consultants recommend that an outdoor Ottawa facility should 
be secured with a 20-metre-high chain-link fence, 90 to 150 metres from the 
actual crop.

"This fence should be topped with outriggers with strands of barbed wired, 
angled away from the crops," the report says. Further, it wants large signs 
posted prohibiting trespassing, topped with electronic security monitors.

The business plan estimated it would cost $1.25 million to start a 
marijuana manufacturing facility, including $750,000 for a building and 
$50,000 in security upgrades.

Of the annual operating costs of $332,200, it estimated it would need to 
spend $2,000 on rolling papers and pay employees $25,000 to roll the 
joints. Under that plan, they would have produced 200,000 joints from 170 
kilograms of pot, twice the volume of the latest government option.
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