Pubdate: Thu, 29 Oct 2015
Source: Cranbrook Daily Townsman (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Black Press
Author: Arne Petryshen


A local advocate for reforming cannabis laws was happy with the 
federal election outcome.

Tamara Cartwright-Poulits, the regional coordinator for NORML Women's 
Alliance of Canada, said she was elated by the election results and 
Trudeau getting elected. She said it is now a waiting game, though 
some want the changes to cannabis laws to happen immediately.

"We know it isn't going to happen that fast," Cartwright-Poulits 
said. "Until the fourth of November, when cabinet is actually set up 
and we know who the justice minister is and who the health minister 
is and who is going to handle the portfolio."

Part of that is whether there will be one component in Health Canada 
and perhaps a whole different angle for the recreational side of it.

Cartwright-Poulits said she has spoken to Liberals in Ottawa on the 
issue prior to the election and they were looking at the Colorado 
models, but since then Oregon has come in too.

"They are looking at different aspects of how it's working in the 
U.S. in those certain states on how it can benefit the whole 
country," she said.

"It's an absolutely positive step in every direction because if 
(Trudeau) takes the criminality out of it that makes it so no one is 
going to end up in jail for pot, because right now it is mandatory minimums."

The Conservatives' Bill C-10 means that a person caught with a 
certain amount of marijuana could end up with a 14 year sentence.

She said ultimately they want cannabis removed from the Canada Border 
Services Agency's narcotic list.

"Make it more in the health end of it," she said, adding that once 
you put the medical label on it, it also makes it difficult to bring 
it around to a more recreational platform.

Cartwright-Poulits said she hopes that marijuana is eventually 
managed like tobacco and alcohol.

"Then it would open the bong stores to get their licensing and be 
distributing already," she said. "But then there are people who also 
have medical needs who want to have a little more knowledgeable 
people, so that's where you'd want the dispensary model sort of 
staying intact too."

She said NORML Women's Alliance of Canada began the campaign with the 
Liberals four years ago.

"We were out in Montreal at the conventions and in Edmonton at the 
conventions talking to other MPs and kind of putting our input in," 
she said. "So I'd like to some of our community be able to be put at 
the table in the committee, so that we have our input as patients, as 

She also noted there are the anti-cannabis proponents out there that 
are also going to have their input as well.

"We have to look at it like adults and have an adult conversation 
about it - and get the reefer madness out of it," she said.

She said some patients worry that they will not have a chance to have 
their say.

"Which is unfortunate, I think the patients should be more on-board 
thinking that this may be the time that we finally get rid of the dog 
tags that we've had to wear since 2001," she said. "But they also 
want their gardens back. The Liberal government really isn't talking 
about letting personal growth start back."

Cartwright-Poulits is also the CEO and president of Canadian Medical 
Cannabis Partners Society.

"We're a not-for-profit organization that is advocating and lobbying 
for legalization for patients," she said.

She is also working on the East Kootenay Cannabis Club.

"To get some advocation in town too," she said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom