Pubdate: Sat, 12 Jul 2003
Source: Abbotsford News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2003 Hacker Press Ltd.
Author: Russ Akins
Bookmark: (Kubby, Steve)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Need Medicinal Marijuana? Government Is In On The Action.

The federal government has began to ship government-grown medical
marijuana to doctors for patient prescriptions - a move that has
prompted Langley-Abbotsford (Canadian Alliance) MP Randy White to say:
"If you want to screw something up, give it to the

The pot is grown in an old mine in Flin Flon, Man., and is being
offered via doctors at $5 a gram. The government will also sell
marijuana seeds at $20 for a package of 30 to allow sick people to
grow their own plants.

Thus far, nearly 600 people have qualified for permission from Health
Canada to use marijuana for medical reasons.

The president of the B.C. Medical Association, Dr. John Turner, has
gone on record as calling the federal move "mind-boggling,'' saying it
is matter of bureaucrats "trying to make doctors' lives more

Dr. Joginder Grewal, president of the MSA Medical Society, estimates
not more than "two or three'' Abbotsford doctors will decide to
prescribe the government marijuana to their patients, but stressed
that in his view, doctors would prefer not to be in the marijuana business.

"It is a restricted drug, and we would be keeping it in our offices,
which is highly undesirable, for fear of break-ins,'' Grewal told the
Abbotsford News yesterday.

"We're acting as pharmacists, which means more paperwork and more

"They (pharmacists) deal with restricted drugs, such as morphine or
demerol, that's nothing new for them,'' said the doctor, who believes
there are other proven and effective pain-killers available and that
marijuana is going through the federal system for "socio-political

As well, since marijuana is a biological product, the quantities of
its active ingredient will vary from batch to batch, cautioned Grewal.
Abbotsford lawyer John Conroy has represented a number of alleged
marijuana grow operators in the courts, and said yesterday he has
mixed feelings on the federal move.

"Marijuana should be treated as a natural health care product, like
any other herbal medicine,'' said Conroy, who believes the Compassion
Club model of marijuana delivery is already successful.

"But I'm pleased the government is coming up with some kind of supply,
which may be only a temporary measure.''

White says he has already seen examples of abuse of medical

"If you want to screw something up, give it to the government. I saw
one person who has a medical marijuana certificate for constipation -
how to smoke dope and fix constipation?,'' he told the Abbotsford News
this week.

White is observing another refugee hearing involving a U.S. man
seeking to enter Canada by citing persecution under American marijuana

The case involves Ken Hayes, and follows closely that of Steve Kubby,
whose refugee hearing White attended in April. Kubby, 56, once ran
unsuccessfully for California governor. He moved to B.C. in 2000 after
being convicted on two counts of possession of a narcotic.

He faces up to four months in a California jail, claiming that him
denying medical marijuana amounts to persecution and cruel and unusual

After nine days of testimony heard in Vancouver over two months,
Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Paula Downes reserved her
decision until the end of October.

"They're all in cahoots,'' he said of the U.S. refugee claimants.
"They're making a laughing stock out of us. There's more consequences
to this than anyone understands. This is a flagrant abuse of the
refugee system, when we have genuine refugees seeking to come to this

As far as Ottawa's entry into the marijuana business, White said,
"they followed the lead of a judge.''

He referred to a decision in January by Ontario Superior Court Justice
Sidney Lederman, who said it was unconstitutional that sick people are
forced to buy marijuana illegally because Health Canada won't supply

"This is the first time ever in history where politicians, the
Liberals, have taken it upon themselves to determine that something is
a drug,'' White said.

"The process of determining what is a prescription drug is very
lengthy in this country. 'We think this is a wonder drug,' they (the
Liberals) said. But it puts doctors in quite a quandary. Most doctors
don't believe it is a wonder drug.

"It has some qualities to it - as far as cancer patients, it makes
them hungry. But it's worse than cigarettes, and it has side effects.
This is part of the whole move towards legalization,'' said the MP.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin