Pubdate: Fri, 04 May 2007
Source: Digby Courier, The (CN NS)
Copyright: 2007 Media Transcontinental
Author: Debbie Stultz-Giffin
Note: Debbie Stultz-Giffin is chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical 
Marijuana Society and lives near Bridgetown, Annapolis County.
Cited: Canadians for Safe Access
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Canada)


Halifax March on Saturday One of Hundreds Worldwide

Medical marijuana patients and advocates, cannabis consumers and 
freedom supporters, will rally in the Halifax North Commons from 1 to 
4 p.m., May 5, to mark the annual Global Marijuana March as we join 
over 200 cities worldwide to seek changes to current cannabis laws.

Last month Canadians learned about Health Canada gouging critically 
and chronically ill Canadians a whopping 1,500 per cent markup for 
medicinal marijuana.

Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society (MUMM) is a registered 
non-profit organization that educates others about the safety of 
medical marijuana while advocating and lobbying for the rights of 
consumers, distributors and producers of medical marijuana.

MUMM will be calling for the federal government to:

1) immediately forgive the $143,000 of debt owed to Health Canada by 
cancer patients, people living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C sufferers 
and others who are unable to pay for their medicine. Thanks to 
Canadian taxpayers, this medicine has already been paid for from the 
government coffers and now ill people are being forced to chose 
between medicine and food in order to survive while being asked to 
pay for the cannabis again at a highly inflated rate.

2) begin meeting with provincial health authorities to insure that 
costs are covered for medical cannabis, whether the medicine comes 
from Health Canada, designated growers, compassion societies or is 
produced by the patient. Most Exemption Holders live on lower, fixed 
incomes and medical marijuana is essential for their overall daily 
state of health and well being.

3) allow for easier access to the Medical Marijuana program for 
patients who require medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of 
chronic diseases and conditions. Currently, the Medical Marijuana 
Access Regulations only protect 1,700 of the estimated one million 
gravely ill Canadians relying on medical cannabis. Those patients 
unable to obtain exemptions are subject to being arrested, charged 
and potentially convicted.

4) legalize and legitimize Canadian Compassion Clubs immediately. A 
survey by the Canadian AIDS Society in 2006, determined that Canadian 
compassion clubs provide medicine to over 10,000 people in Canada. 
Health Canada should work with compassion clubs to approve a 
regulatory scheme for community-based access to medical cannabis so 
that clubs may continue to operate, but without the fear of being prosecuted.

5) promise to leave Personal-Use Production Licences and 
Designated-Person Production Licences intact after 2007. The recent 
press release noted that Health Canada is moving toward removing 
patients preferred methods of obtaining medicinal marijuana. Two 
thirds of Exemptees either grow their own medicine or opt to have an 
individual designated to grow it for them. Health Canada is 
contemplating forcing all exemptees to buy their expensive, 
ineffective medicine. Exemptees need access to many strains of safe, 
legal and affordable medicine.

6) conduct a financial/performance audit of the federal medical 
marijuana program. NDP MP Libby Davies, Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin 
and the Canadian AIDS Society have pointed out that a long overdue 
audit of the Medical Marijuana Department is crucial.

The unconscionable inflationary rate applied to government grown 
cannabis was discovered when Canadians for Safe Access, a national 
medical marijuana advocacy group, filed an Access to Information Act 
requesting a copy of the production contract between Health Canada 
and Prairie Plant Systems.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake