Pubdate: Fri, 05 Feb 2016
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Colette Rivet
Page: B5


Feds should act quickly to fill policy and enforcement vacuum

Re: Vancouver set to approve first legal marijuana shops, Feb. 1

It's important for people to know that, regardless of municipal
business licensing processes,marijuana retail stores are illegal in
Canada - full stop.

What this means on a practical level is that consumers who buy
products from these stores do not have the protection of the law
behind them. If they were stopped by police, they could be charged
with possession, which unfortunately happens to far too many people
across Canada every year.

The sole legal way for patients to access medical cannabis is through
a licensed producer regulated by Health Canada, supported by a medical
authorization from the patient's doctor. Forty thousand Canadian
patients receive their medical cannabis this way, typically delivered
to their door by mail within two days of ordering. Registered patients
are legally protected, and can even claim the cost of their medicine
as an allowable medical expense under the Income Tax Act.

As the industry association for Canada's legal, regulated medical
cannabis producers, we are sympathetic to the efforts of
municipalities such as Vancouver, who are attempting to use bylaws to
gain some control over the proliferation of illegal marijuana
dispensaries. However, what is really needed is for the federal
government to close the policy and enforcement vacuum by moving
quickly to establish a regulated and enforced legal industry for both
medical and recreational cannabis.

Colette Rivet Executive director, Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry
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MAP posted-by: Matt