Pubdate: Sat, 06 May 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, Ottawa Bureau


OTTAWA - Health Minister Allan Rock has issued an official call to the 
country's marijuana growers: The government needs some good, homegrown pot.

Rock yesterday called for proposals to establish a "Canadian source of 
quality, standardized, affordable, research-grade marijuana" for clinical 
trials of the drug's therapeutic value.

The minister said he wants a five-year contract signed, sealed and 
delivered this summer.

"Establishing a Canadian source of research-grade marijuana is an important 
step in putting our plan into action," Rock said in a statement.

The winning bidder will be responsible for establishing a marijuana 
growing, processing, fabrication and storage facility in Canada.

The contractor will also be required to maintain quality control of the 
pot, properly store it and distribute to eligible recipients decided by 
Health Canada.

The government will also insist on "stringent security" to ensure the 
marijuana is grown and distributed to only those eligible for the tests.

Rock agreed to the therapeutic marijuana trials following lengthy lobbying 
on behalf of some terminally ill Canadians who use marijuana to alleviate 
pain and suffering.

Some sufferers of glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, manic depression, cancer 
and AIDS have reported marijuana use controls some symptoms.

Rock has given special permission to 37 Canadians to legally use marijuana, 
under Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Although that exemption allows those Canadians to grow their own cannabis, 
those who use the drug say the exemption should be extended to caregivers 
or suppliers who provide the marijuana.

Once he has a reliable supply of pot, Rock's office will recruit trial 
participants from across the country.
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