Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jan 2011
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2011 Sun Media
Author: Laura Payton
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


OTTAWA -- A woman who's been waiting five months for an updated 
licence to use medical marijuana says the situation for patients is 
getting worse.

Marie Tripp filed an application in August to change her licence 
after her doctor doubled her prescription for cannabis, and spoke to 
QMI Agency at the end of September about previous delays she suffered 
while getting renewals and changes for her licence.

Tripp suffers from fibro myalgia, chronic fatigue and osteoarthritis, 
but doesn't use any painkillers other than marijuana.

She has waited so long for the approval, however, that she's only 
five weeks away from having to renew her old license. Renewal is an 
annual requirement for those individuals approved to use pot to ease 
their chronic pain and help their appetites.

Tripp says she confirmed her application was in order, but was then 
told she submitted too much information, and her application was 
being returned to her.

Health Canada issues licences to people with debilitating illnesses 
and prescriptions from their doctors. Almost 5,000 Canadians have 
licences to carry marijuana and a little more than 3,500 have a 
licence to grow it.

But Tripp and others worry they risk being charged with possession, 
or even having their homes raided by police, while they wait.

"My grower is growing what I'm allowed, without a valid license for 
the amount that's on my table," Tripp said, "because of Health 
Canada's inability to get the cards to us."

Tripp has resubmitted her application as a licence renewal with an 
amendment, but her application is now on the bottom of the pile again.

Liberal health critic Ujjal Dosanjh points out this is a doctor's 
prescription to which Tripp is entitled.

"This government is playing doctor ... because they hate the idea of 
allowing anyone to take marijuana."

A spokesman for Health Canada says the department streamlined its 
process and is now hitting its eight to 10 week processing time 
target, but wouldn't comment on Tripp's case, citing privacy concerns.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom