Pubdate: Tue, 06 Dec 2005
Source: Medical Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2005 The Medical Post
Author: Michael Muirhead
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Dr. Alan Russell wrote in his letter, "The marijuana conundrum" (the 
Medical Post, Nov. 15): "For multiple sclerosis or severe rheumatoid 
arthritis, a specialist with an FRCP or an FRCS can sign a form for 
the medical use of marijuana. I have yet to be able to find two 
specialists in this field who will see a patient within a year and 
who will sign a form."

Perhaps Dr. Russell is unaware of this (a great many doctors are), 
but for severe pain in MS and RA, for intractable spasm in MS, and 
for other "category 1" disease symptoms, the regulations state the 
MMAR forms may be signed by any physician who knows the patient 
(though the number of doctors willing to do so is small, for the 
reasons he gave.)

There is a requirement for a specialist's knowledge, but not their 
signature, for category 2 symptoms, however, meaning unless a patient 
is in truly awful straits, legal access to marijuana as medication 
can take a very long time to obtain--years, in some cases. Ask Terry 
Parker, whose case brought the MMAR into being in the first place.

Dr. Russell also states, "I believe the current legislation is so 
obstructive it denies the right of the patient in need of obtaining 
the medication legally and in a reasonable time legally."

In this, the doctor is absolutely correct. Not only that; the medical 
marijuana regulations were declared unconstitutional until five 
important barriers to access were removed by order of the Ontario 
Court of Appeal, but two of them were put right back in within weeks 
of the law being deemed "fixed," meaning the law is again 
unconstitutional as currently written.

- --Michael Muirhead

Queen Charlotte City, B.C.
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