Pubdate: Tue, 21 Jul 2015
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2015 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: David Larkins
Page: 4


Pot Smokers Praise Marijuana's Medical Benefits

One of the most powerful and addictive drugs a prescription can buy 
isn't enough to alleviate the pain Randy Kotyk suffers daily.

Kotyk suffers from cervical spinal stenosis, degenerative bone 
disease in his neck and back, an arthritic spine, and has had "a 
number of heart attacks."

In an attempt to numb that pain, Kotyk wears two patches - 200 
micrograms - of Fentanyl, the prescription drug that is said to be 
significantly more powerful than morphine, more addictive than 
heroin, and has become a drug of abuse trafficked on city streets 
around the world.

Kotyk prefers marijuana and said Monday, at a smoke-in outside the 
Winnipeg police headquarters, it works better than the addictive prescription.

"I've heard stories about this stuff killing people on the street," Kotyk said.

"(Marijuana) relaxes my muscles, it gets rid of the pain. It keeps my 
mind occupied and keeps it away from the pain. That's all I need. I 
don't need these (patches). They're not working anymore. I've been on 
it too long."

About a dozen people attended the smoke-in held by dispensary 
operator Glenn Price, who had police visit his Main Street store 
multiple times in the past week. Price maintains he's giving cannabis 
to people who suffer from a variety of painful ailments, and 
marijuana offers a safe alternative to prescription drugs that can 
often end up on the streets.

"If they would spend more time writing prescriptions for medical 
cannabis, there would be no Oxycodone on the street and they'd get 
rid of that problem," he said.

It was the organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada that 
alerted police to Price's operation. Pamela McColl of SAM said 
Canadians are only hearing one side of the debate, and it is coming 
from the "extremely well-funded pot lobby." She said she would 
challenge Price on his claims of marijuana's medical benefits.

"I would say that we live in an age of modern medicine and 
evidence-based science," she said. "I don't see the evidence on the 
planet for some of the conditions that he'd recommend marijuana for. 
So I would challenge not only what he's selling ... and I would 
challenge his claims that he's making about the benefits. I have a 
problem with it from beginning to the end."

McColl said she'd support a conversation over decriminalization and a 
"robust system of ticketing."

"The country deserves a conversation here and we're not hearing it," 
McColl said.
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