Pubdate: Thu, 29 May 2014
Source: Georgia Straight, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 The Georgia Straight
Author: Travis Lupick


HE'S WORKED AS a criminal defence lawyer, the mayor of Vancouver, and 
the premier of British Columbia. He served on the police board and, 
as an MLA, represented the Downtown Eastside in the mid-1990s as the 
community struggled with skyrocketing drug-overdose rates.

Those are all roles that Mike Harcourt says make him uniquely 
qualified for his new job as chairperson of True Leaf Medicine Inc., 
a medicinal cannabis company based in Lumby, B.C.

In a telephone interview, Harcourt told the Straight that while he's 
never used medicinal marijuana himself, his title with True Leaf 
won't be a token one.

"It's going to be a very hands-on role," he said.

Harcourt explained that his priority will be working to see True Leaf 
brings standardized practices to an area of medicine relatively new to Canada.

"There is a need for a very clear approach on dosages," he said. "A 
lot of times, you're getting far too high a dosage or you're not 
getting the right strain. And so I think there needs to be some order 
brought to that whole area."

That's why True Leaf will be focusing on research and development, 
Harcourt said, with the goal of providing information to medical practitioners.

He conceded that he was initially skeptical when approached for the 
position by True Leaf CEO Darcy Bomford. But Harcourt said he 
reviewed the scientific literature on cannabis as medicine and was 
quickly won over.

He also noted that different cultures around the world have used 
cannabis for medicinal purposes for at least as long as 5,000 years.

"It's a natural plant that many civilizations have used, and used 
very successfully," Harcourt said.

True Leaf doesn't appear on the federal government's list of 
authorized producers for medicinal marijuana. According to a True 
Leaf media release, the company has applied for a license to grow and 
distribute cannabis under the Conservatives' new Marihuana for 
Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

Harcourt is the second high-profile British Columbian formerly 
involved in politics and law enforcement to join Canada's growing 
medicinal marijuana industry.

Earlier this month, former B.C. solicitor general Kash Heed-who once 
led the Vancouver Police Department's drug squad-announced that he 
would be working as a consultant to marijuana growers that operate 
under the MMPR.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom