Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jul 2003
Source: Beacon Herald, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Beacon Herald


It's become mandatory for pundits, when writing about the federal 
government's pot policy, to make the once humourous but now cliche "What 
have the Liberals been smoking?" joke.

But it's understandable. The latest head-scratcher is Health Canada's 
forthcoming user's manual on medical marijuana that reportedly instructs 
those who have access to the prescription pot not to smoke it!

"Administration by smoking is not recommended," says the 59-page document.

And a Health Canada official said, "We're not recommending, in fact, that 
marijuana be used."

This follows on the heels of several other strange and bizarre undertakings 
by the Liberals on the pot file. A couple of months ago, the Liberals 
unveiled a supposed decriminalization of marijuana that will still punish 
people for possessing up to 15 grams of pot, but will spare them a criminal 

The Grits' proposed crackdown on growers, however, will likely result in 
the black-market pot producers making even more money. What was ironic 
about that was the whole push for legalized pot originated from chronically 
ill folks who wanted access to medicinal pot but didn't want to risk a 
criminal record.

But there was nothing in May's proposed pot law changes (that still have to 
actually be passed into law) that addressed the medical marijuana issue per se.

The Grits tried to alleviate that problem earlier this month by announcing 
that the government was in the marijuana business, and would sell bags of 
pot and seeds to sick patients who qualify under Ottawa's medical marijuana 

The ink was barely dry on the press release when the Canadian Medical 
Association urged its doctors not to become drug dealers for the feds.

The CMA said it didn't support Ottawa's medical pot program for many 
reasons, including the lack of evidence of its efficacy.

The feds might have been able to produce their own study on the usefulness 
of medical pot, but it's since been reported that Health Minister Anne 
McLellan shut down a $2-million study on medicinal pot that included 
clinical trials.

What was the next step?

The Grits propose to decriminalize pot possession, but add more penalties 
to growing, then grow their own and propose selling it to sick patients, 
who likely won't be able to get it from their doctors and even if they do, 
are being instructed by the same government that gave them the pot not to 
use it!

All that said, we're actually cutting the Liberals a bit of slack on this 
front, because the Grits are merely reacting to judicial rulings demanding 
changes in the pot laws.

It's no surprise the Liberals have come up with a confusing and 
contradictory cannabis policy when the direction is being set by the courts.
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