Pubdate: Mon, 16 Feb 2004
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Jody Pressman
Cited: June 5th demonstration on Parliament Hill
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Re: Cannabis users balk at sharing medical data, Jan. 26

An important issue often lost in the daily headlines is how
inefficient our current medical marijuana program is.

The majority of medical marijuana users do not have the benefit of the
rare Health Canada exemptions. In fact, only 700 federal exemptions
exist while the number of Canadians who use cannabis for medical
purposes is estimated to be 400,000.

How can the government talk about a half measure such as its
decriminalization legislation while urgent flaws exist in the current
medical marijuana program that decriminalization does not resolve?

Why doesn't the government stop dragging its feet and implement a
fully regulatory regime for marijuana for everybody? That way, at
least the sick could get safe access to marijuana, and profits from
marijuana (estimated at $12 billion in Ontario alone) would no longer
go untaxed and into the black market.

There is a growing consensus among Canadians that it's time to take
back control of marijuana from the black market. The government would
regulate it like alcohol, tax it, and institute clear health and
safety guidelines to reduce black-market harms associated with the
production, sale, and consumption of marijuana in a prohibition

On June 5, Canadians from across the country will stage a historic
demonstration on Parliament Hill to provoke political change on these
issues. This action is endorsed by the B.C. Civil Liberties
Association, and features respected and informed speakers such as
Senator Pierre Claude Nolin who was chairman of the Senate special
committee on illegal drugs, and Libby Davies, an NDP MP who sat on an
all party committee which conducted cross-Canada hearings on the
failed bill to decriminalize marijuana.

Jody Pressman,

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