Pubdate: Tue, 09 Dec 2003
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
Author: Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


OTTAWA -- Health Canada says it will provide medical marijuana to 
authorized patients on a long-term basis, but patients aren't cheering. 
Instead, they're upset the government will continue to strictly limit local 
growing operations, forcing many patients to obtain government pot they 
consider inferior and overpriced.

"This is not going to help the sick people across Canada -- it's only going 
to hurt them even more, because it's only going to push us to the black 
market," said Marco Renda, a medical pot user.

The latest version of the medical pot regulations appeared yesterday in 
response to an Ontario ruling in the fall that said the existing marijuana 
access rules were overly restrictive and unconstitutional.

Alan Young, a veteran lawyer and cannabis crusader, said Health Canada has 
ignored much of the Ontario court order and he will sue for contempt of court.

"The court removed four major restrictions to access . . . one restriction 
being the ability of a producer to grow for a number of patients," said Young.

"It's crystal clear, there's no way to circumvent this, they're simply 
ignoring the court ruling. I will set the wheels in motion to take Health 
Canada to court for contempt of court."

In its decision last October, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a lower 
court order that the government provide a legal source of pot for 
authorized patients.

Health Minister Anne McLellan responded to the earlier court ruling by 
introducing an interim plan, under which patients could obtain pot from 
Health Canada.

That contradicted McLellan's previous statements she would not release any 
marijuana until it had been proven in clinical trials to be beneficial.

Now McLellan effectively has made the interim plan permanent, entrenching 
it in regulations. Clinical trials will continue but the provision of pot 
to patients won't wait until results are in.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman