Pubdate: Sun, 17 Jun 2007
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2007 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Dean Beeby, Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


OTTAWA - Health Canada has been contacting doctors who prescribe
medical marijuana for their government-approved patients, advising
them to keep the dosages low.

Some users say that not only violates doctor-patient confidentiality,
it's also wrong for bureaucrats to make judgments about the medical
needs of people they've never seen.

"A person's medication should be between him and his doctor," said
Tony Adams, 60, a medical marijuana user in Victoria. "There shouldn't
be some bureaucrat in Ottawa that's never met me.

"Everybody has different needs for medications."

Adams, a licensed user who's been smoking seven grams of marijuana
daily, recently applied to Health Canada to increase the dose to 10
grams, with his doctor's authorization.

Official approval from Ottawa is needed so that Adam can legally grow
the appropriate number of marijuana plants, set by Health Canada at
five plants for each daily gram.

But a program official in Ottawa challenged Adams' doctor in a
telephone call, saying most patients need no more than five grams.
Adams, who has severe arthritis and degenerative disc disease, later
received a new licence for just five grams a day.

"I'm just really pissed off about the whole situation. . . . I need to
get to the bottom of this."

Similarly, Alison Myrden in Burlington, Ont., says her doctor was
challenged by Health Canada bureaucrats about her 20- to 28-gram daily

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the department said dosage decisions are
always left to doctors.
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