Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2003
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Stephanie Rubec, Parliamentary Bureau
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


In a bid to boost the availability of pot, the feds have softened medicinal 
marijuana rules. Health Canada announced yesterday that it's okay to pay a 
licensed grower for their weed.

The department also cut the red tape in the application process. It now 
requires a patient to obtain the recommendation from one medical specialist 
- -- not two.

Health Canada spokeswoman Catherine Saunders said the move responds to an 
Ontario Court of Appeal ruling in October criticizing the federal medicinal 
marijuana program for making it too difficult to get access to pot.

More Growers

By striking down rules requiring a licensed grower to provide medicinal 
marijuana for free, Health Canada hopes more people will cultivate the crop.

"It might make it more available when you compensate the licensed grower," 
Saunders said.

Saunders said there are no changes to the rule that licensed growers can 
only provide pot to one user and a maximum of three people can pool their 
resources to grow medicinal marijuana.

"It wouldn't become a business in that you can only grow for one person," 
she said.

The feds provide 30 seeds for $20. Dried marijuana is also being provided 
by Ottawa for the bargain price of $5 a gram -- about $10 cheaper than it 
goes for on the street.

Health Canada has okayed 697 Canadians to possess marijuana for medical 
purposes and another 530 people are allowed to cultivate pot -- most of 
them in Ontario.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman