Pubdate: Fri, 19 Jun 2015
Source: Chilliwack Progress (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 The Chilliwack Progress
Author: Margaret Evans


Health Minister Rona Ambrose needs to chill out. Her ranting last 
week against the Supreme Court of Canada was uncalled for.

All the justices agreed that it is unconstitutional to forbid 
licensed medical marijuana users from possessing pot-laced products 
better suited to their health needs such as cannabis-infused 
brownies, cookies, cakes, tea, butter, tinctures, oils, salves, gel 
capsules, body creams, or chocolate bars. Right now, the law only 
allows possession of dried marijuana which can only be smoked.

"The restriction to dried marijuana in the MMARs (Marijuana Medical 
Access Regulations) breaches the s. 7 rights of individuals who have 
been issued an Authorization to Possess (ATP) marijuana under the 
Regulations but require other forms of cannabis to treat symptoms of 
serious illness," wrote the justices in a unanimous ruling. "The 
provision is arbitrary and cannot be justified in a free and 
democratic society."

It started when Owen Smith was arrested in 2009 for possession of 
cannabis-infused products. He was employed by the Victoria-based 
Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada to make a variety of products for 
their ATP members suffering from severe or persistent symptoms 
associated with cancer, MS, epilepsy, spinal cord injury or disease, 
severe arthritis or HIV/AIDS. For many patients, consuming these 
products in edible form provides far greater pain relief than smoking 
a joint or taking conventional prescription painkillers.

Smith was acquitted at trial. The B.C. Appeal Court also ruled in his 
favour. So the feds appealed again and took the case to the top 
court. That resulted in the Supreme Court of Canada's 7-0 ruling last 
Thursday in favour of Smith which triggered Ambrose's howling rage.

"I am outraged by the message judges are sending that they think they 
can approve a drug into a medicine without clear clinical scientific 
evidence and without safety reviews," she said. "Marijuana has never 
gone through the regulatory approval process at Health Canada, which 
requires rigorous safety reviews and clinical trials with scientific 
evidence. I'm outraged by the Supreme Court."

Really? So why hasn't Health Canada actually done scientific studies, 
clinical trials, and safety reviews?

Because the federal government doesn't want scientific fact put in 
front of biased policy decisions. Yet there's plenty of science out there.

Scientists at the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy 
Center released a study showing that a medical liquid form of 
marijuana offers promise as a treatment for children with severe 
epilepsy who are not responding to other treatments.

A U.S. nationwide study published in the journal The Lancet 
Psychiatry analyzed 24 years of data from over one million 
adolescents in 48 states and found no evidence that legalizing the 
use of marijuana for medical purposes leads to increased use among teenagers.

UBC researchers began a national study last year to follow 300 
patients and measure the effect on patient access and health outcomes 
of proposed changes to Canada's medical cannabis regulation ending 
homegrown marijuana and creating a national marketplace.

Scientists at the University of Buffalo's Research Institute on 
Addictions are studying chronic stress and depression with a focus on 
endocannabinoids, brain chemicals similar to substances in marijuana.

Clinical research in New Mexico supports outcomes that show smoking 
marijuana is associated with reducing PTSD symptoms in some patients. 
The study was published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

At the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis 
Research 13 studies on cannabis therapy have been completed and five 
new trials are underway to assess the effectiveness of cannabis and 
cannabis compounds.

If Health Minister Ambrose genuinely wanted clinical scientific 
evidence and safety reviews to assess medical marijuana products 
under Health Canada, she could get it.

But we all know where the war-on-drugs policy sits in the Harper government.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom