Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2003
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Jeremy Loome, Edmonton Sun
Note: The rules and forms to apply are at
Also: The following are current links to related video and audio reports
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


This batch of potent pot is being brought to you by the good folks at
Canada Post - literally.

The federal Health Department will begin shipping pot seeds to
exempted medical pot patients and harvested pot to those who don't
want to grow their own, it said yesterday.

Thirty seeds will run $20, while a gram of 10% THC-blended pot will be
$5, or $150 an ounce, about half its street value.

But there's a catch: it's only a temporary measure due to the federal
need to comply, by July 9, with a court order. The government still
plans to fight the ruling in appeals court.

The move met with lukewarm responses.

"Anything that helps the sick users be able to access it without
interruption is a positive step," said Dr. Patricia Erickson with the
Addiction Research Foundation.

Erickson believes demonizing drugs has done more harm than good. And
the rules aren't timely, she said. "If you think about anyone with a
serious condition needing medication daily and then not knowing
whether they'll be able to get it, then we still have a ways to go."

Canada has already gone too far, said Edmonton city police Sgt. Glen
Hayden, who addressed Senate hearings on illegal drugs on behalf of
the Canadian Police Association.

"This is just another example of the government putting the cart
before the horse," he said. "There's no medical tests or scientific
foundation proving benefits."

Hayden said the decision could affect everything from the ability to
exercise probable cause in arrests to legal liability for wrongful
busts. He also suggested 30 plants could yield a pound of dope each.
And assuming only an average of a quarter-pound each, four annual grow
cycles would yield 30 pounds, way more than a medicinal user could go

That may also make growers targets for criminals, he said.

Steve Kubby, a U.S. cancer patient who fled to Canada to avoid
prosecution for medical pot, said police worrying they'll bust the
wrong users puts legitimate patients at risk.

"There are still people out there who live in fear every day because
their medical marijuana is gonna be discovered by police and they'll
be treated like criminals," said Kubby, who says he has controlled a
rare form of adrenal cancer for 27 years using marijuana and now lives
in B.C.

Kubby and other activists say the ruling required quick access to
medical pot, and the changes won't accomplish that.

Marc Emery, the millionaire owner of Hemp B.C. stores, was outside a
Winnipeg police station yesterday, blowing smoke at officers in an
attempt to get busted.

"Marijuana is no longer listed as a controlled substance. It's no
longer illegal," said Emery, adding the planned appeal makes the new
rules "substantially insincere."

But any court-related pot issues are separate matters, said Health
Canada's Cindy Cripps-Prawak.

"We are focusing purely on marijuana for medical purposes," she said.
"Health Canada is concerned with ensuring the good health of
Canadians, and that's what this is about."



Put these fast facts about medical pot rules in your pipe and smoke

- - About 500 Canadians have been granted exemptions.

- - Schedule one exemptions are granted to the terminally ill, with a
letter of support from a general practitioner.

- - Schedule two exemptions are granted to people who have one of a list
of conditions that have shown anecdotal benefits from marijuana,
including multiple sclerosis patients suffering from spasms, and AIDS
or cancer patients suffering from extreme nausea.

- - Schedule three exemptions are catch-alls, wherein doctors can apply
for an exemption for their patient if every other traditional therapy
has proven ineffective. Examples include mystery syndromes like
fibromyalgia that are acknowledged as problems but poorly understood.

- - The marijuana sold by the federal government is a blend of several
strains, with about 10% THC, the ingredient that gets people high.

- - Seeds will be mailed to users' homes; they can designate one other
person to grow the plants for them if they wish, and as many as three
growers can work together, making pot co-ops possible. Growers are not
allowed to charge for the product or their services.

- - Dried pot will be mailed in bulk to doctors who have patients with
exemptions who don't want to grow their own; Health Canada expects to
mail out a month's supply, based on case history, per patient at a

- - Medicinal users will face restrictions on the amount they can grow
or store based on their individual applications.

- - They won't be allowed to grow it outdoors if the property is
adjacent to an area frequented by minors.

- - Police will be give the users pot-related information, including
location and amounts allowed.
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