Pubdate: Mon, 22 Aug 2011 Source: Langley Times (CN BC) Copyright: 2011 Langley Times Contact: http://www.langleytimes.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1230 Author: Derek Cooke, Superintendent-Officer In Charge, RCMP Langley Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n521/a04.html?1350 MANY PROBLEMS WITH MARIJUANA DISPENSARY Editor: The use of medicinal marijuana is a hot button topic for many, and there is no doubt the issue has the potential to impact on our community. I am not about to engage in a philosophical debate on the merits of medicinal marijuana, however, when I read your recent opinion editorial; "Safe Supply of Legal Pot," (The Times, Aug. 11), I felt it necessary to correct a few significant and misleading errors. The editorial referred to last month's raid of a medicinal marijuana dispensary by the Langley RCMP and stated the dispensary had been selling "...to people with valid licences to use marijuana." While I will not delve into specific evidence gathered during the course of our investigation, I can say that is not true. Nor do I believe the dispensary's operator has ever suggested that is the case. Rather, as indicated on the dispensary's own website, customers only required a membership card issued by the dispensary itself in order to purchase marijuana. To qualify for membership a "Practitioner's Statement" was required, however, this does not satisfy the requirements and safeguards set in place by Health Canada. Based on what can be found on the dispensary's website, it appears: - - There was no requirement that the customer be afflicted with one of the specific ailments for which medicinal marijuana is legally permitted; - - There was no requirement that the signing practitioner indicate that he/she has any specialization, or knowledge and experience relevant to the treatment of any medical condition for which medicinal marijuana may be permitted; - - There was no requirement that conventional treatment for the customer's ailment had been tried, or even considered; and - - There was no requirement for the customer to be informed of and understand the risks associated with the use of marijuana. The Health Canada application process ensures these issues have been addressed before an individual can be licenced to legally use medicinal marijuana. Perhaps most concerning from a law enforcement and community safety perspective, there was no process in place for dispensary customers to have been screened for relevant criminal history or activity. Your editorial also stated: "There is no specified place where users can get a safe supply (of marijuana), other than at dispensaries like the one Caine set up." I don't know what you would consider to be a "safe supply," however, you are incorrect to suggest there is nowhere for legitimately licensed individuals to obtain marijuana. Marijuana is made readily available to licensed users at low cost (relative to street prices) by Health Canada, with payment being made by cheque, money order or credit card. Alternatively, individuals can be licensed to grow their own marijuana, or to have others grow it for them. While marijuana may have beneficial properties, it is a drug with extensive health risks associated to it. This drug is also subject to significant abuse and criminal activity. Canada has come a long way in the last decade with regard to the use of medicinal marijuana, and as with all controlled drugs, legislated safeguards are in place to minimize potential negative consequences. I don't know that it is appropriate for individuals or "compassion clubs" to take it upon themselves to determine whom they think, and under what circumstances they believe customers should qualify to buy drugs from them. Supt. Derek Cooke, Officer in Charge, Langley RCMP - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.