Pubdate: Fri, 04 Jun 2010
Source: Maple Ridge Times (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Russell Barth



Re: Stop pot shop, says MP, TIMES, June 1

"Conservative MP Randy Kamp believes medicinal marijuana users who are
getting their pot from a non-profit dispensary that just opened up in
Maple Ridge should be charged for breaking the law."

Only a Tory would say that sick people should be criminally charged
for using their medicine. It is what they call "compassion."

He says that "They have a legal mechanism to get it through Health
Canada or to designate someone to grow it for them so it's certainly
not that they're without options to get it for medical purposes. I
think that's the route they should go," said Kamp.

Actually, we don't. In fact, there is much about this medical pot
program that the government refuses to talk about, and it has been an
ongoing fiasco for over a decade.

The prohibition of marijuana died in the courts in 1997 and '99. The
medical program was put in place to prop up the dead law in a "Weekend
At Bernie's" kind of way -- to convince the public that pot was still
illegal even though the law was just struck down.

The Health Canada program itself has been ruled unconstitutional by at
least four court rulings.

The program was put in place to prop up a prohibition that was ruled

The Health Canada program is so scandalously understaffed that there
is now a 24- to 30-week wait for applications to be processed (whereas
it only takes a few weeks to get a gun). Simple renewals take 16 to 20

The rules on plant and storage limits are arbitrary and do not reflect
the realities of pot cultivation, making them difficult -- and
sometime impossible -- to comply with.

Police often ignore the fact someone has a permit to grow, and tear
out the plants and damage equipment regardless of the legality. People
have spent days in jail with no medicine for the simple crime of
having a legal pot grow.

The pot grown by the government is weak, ground up, is full of stem,
seed, leaf, and chemicals. It doesn't even look like pot, it looks
like the stuff you sprinkle on the floor to soak up vomit. It is also
$5 per gram, which is an outrage because it is sub-standard, and it
has already been paid for by taxpayers.

The federal regulations "allow" the permit holder to possess and use
marijuana, but provincial laws forbid the simple possession of
cannabis in a variety of locations, like busses, cars, restaurants,
bars, and just about everywhere else, which places the permit holders
in a legal conundrum.

If a grower loses a crop to bugs or fungus, which can happen even in
the cleanest facilities, patients can be left with little to no
medicine for months at a time. If they try to buy the government pot
as a "back up" until their own garden produces something useful, they
must relinquish their grow permits. There is no back up, there is no
middle ground, and this can leave patients with no legal way to obtain
medicine for months at a stretch.

It should also be noted that since the regulations were never enacted
as law -- technically -- participants in the program are under no
legal obligation to adhere to them, nor do the police or government
have any real legal jurisdiction to enforce them.

Canadians are all living in a grey area where marijuana is not yet
legal, but no longer illegal.

Russell Barth,

Nepean, Ont. 
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