Pubdate: Tue, 01 Mar 2005
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2005 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Steve Lambert, Canadian Press
Cited: Canadians for Safe Access
Cited: Prairie Plant Systems
Bookmark: (Canadians For Safe Access)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)



A group representing medical users of marijuana has pulled negative
comments from its website after receiving a cease-and-desist notice
from the company Ottawa hired to grow the pot.

"On the advice of our counsel, we have temporarily removed the open
letter of concern," Phillipe Lucas of Canadians for Safe Access said
in an interview yesterday. "But we certainly stand by the concerns
that are cited."

The open letter, which was posted on the group's website in January,
listed criticisms of the quality, ingredients and health standards of
the marijuana that has been grown by Prairie Plant Systems at its
underground facility in Flin Flon.

The web message brought a quick response from Prairie Plant's lawyer,
William Hood.

"While anyone is entitled to express their views on a particular
topic, you are, however, not entitled to publish false and misleading
information which harms Prairie Plant Systems' reputation," said Hood
in the cease-and-desist letter.

He also said Prairie Plant Systems intended "to pursue all legal
remedies available to it" if the group did not remove the comments
from its website and refrain from making similar comments in public.
The company's president, Brent Zettl, said Canadians for Safe Access
has no evidence to back up its claims.

"They just make all these wild allegations and then they don't have
any backing on it," Zettl said yesterday.

The truce in the war of words may only be temporary.

"We're currently examining our legal options and we're preparing a
legal response," said Lucas. "We'll be able to comment on it in the
next couple of days."

Prairie Plant Systems has a $5.5-million, five-year contract with the
federal government to grow pot for medicinal use in an abandoned mine.

The 30-gram packages of dried leaves and buds are sold for $150 each
to a small group of patients who have been approved by Health Canada
who need the drug to alleviate symptoms such as nausea. Lucas's group
and Prairie Plant Systems have been at odds before.

In 2003, Lucas said the company's first batch of marijuana had low
levels of the active ingredient THC.

Health Canada disagreed, saying its own testing showed the pot had the
correct potency. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake