Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jul 2003
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Dan Palmer
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Feds To Release Marijuana User's Manual

Health Canada is set to release a user's manual for medical marijuana this 
week - a move a city cop can't help but chuckle over.

"It's another drastic waste of taxpayers' money," said city police Sgt. 
Peter Kawalilak, president of the Alberta Federation of Police Associations.

"If people are bound and determined to use this drug ... I'm sure they 
already know how."

The unprecedented move has been triggered by the courts, which compelled 
Health Canada this month to begin distributing government-certified 
marijuana to a group of patients who take the substance to alleviate symptoms.

The department must also release a manual on how to use its dope - but a 
draft version of the document shows patients will get little practical 
advice about ingesting marijuana and lots of warnings against using it at all.

"Administration by smoking is not recommended," says the 59-page document, 
which is modelled on drug product monographs, standard for approved medicines.

Apart from brief sections citing scientific studies on taking marijuana 
orally - baked in a chocolate cookie, for example, or rectally as a 
suppository - the manual offers no techniques to avoid smoking.

"We're not recommending, in fact, that marijuana be used," Suzanne 
Desjardins, a Health Canada scientist who helped produce the manual, said 
in an interview from Ottawa.

"It's a drug we don't recommend. If people want to use it, then we're 
saying, well, don't use it by smoking it ... There's no study that 
demonstrates (in) what form it should be used."

Users who do choose to smoke are warned that "smoking should be gentle and 
should cease if the patient begins to feel disoriented or agitated .. naive 
smokers should take great care and be supervised."

The document, headlined Information for Health Care Professionals, warns of 
potential panic attacks, psychosis and convulsions in some cases.

Kawalilak said marijuana is still a gateway drug that leads to other hard 

"Every police officer you talk to is going to be of the same opinion," said 
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