Pubdate: Tue, 16 Aug 2016
Source: Recorder & Times, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Recorder and Times
Author: Sabrina Bedford


When you grow it yourself, it is what it is, and that won't always be

SMITHS FALLS - Despite a federal decision giving Canadians the right
to grow their own medical marijuana, Smiths Falls-based pot producer
Tweed said it'll be business as usual at its converted chocolate
factory here.

"We don't think it will impact us," said Bruce Linton, chief executive
officer and founder of Canopy Growth Corporation and a co-founder of
Tweed Marijuana Inc.

On August 11, Health Canada announced the new Access to Cannabis for
Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), and the single largest change is
that Canadians who need cannabis for medical purposes will soon be
allowed to "produce a limited amount" for their own purposes, or
designate someone to produce it for them.

Previously, those with a prescription for medical marijuana were
required to get it from a licensed producer such as Tweed. The
newfound competition doesn't worry Linton, however, because he said
grow-at-home marijuana doesn't compare to his company's "highest
quality standards in the world."

"When we grow it here, we have a secured environment that we Bruce
Linton manage, then we test all the products to confirm exactly what's
in it," he said, adding the plant engineers strains of the medicine to
be geared specifically to help a multitude of ailments. "When you grow
it yourself, it is what it is, and that won't always be good."

The new regulations will come into force next week, on August 24, and
are being implemented as a result of a federal court ruling in the
case of Allard vs. Canada.

Linton said one of the main concerns about people growing at home is
law enforcement not being able to distinguish between legal and
illegal grow operations. Health Canada has said it will work closely
with provincial authorities to share data and information, such as the
quantities of cannabis being authorized for medical purposes in their

The federal department will also "continue to support law enforcement
representatives by providing a dedicated phone line that is accessible
24 hours a day and seven days a week to confirm, when necessary, that
specific individuals are authorized to possess or produce a limited
amount of cannabis for medical purposes."

While he thinks this new regualtiosn are a short-term initiative,
Linton said Tweed does have plans to benefit from the 'designated
producer' provision in the immediate term.

"One of the new rules is that you don't have to necessarily grow it
yourself, you can have someone else do it for you, so we thought -
we're pretty good at this, why don't we let people who would like to
have people grow it for them sign up with us," he said, comparing it
to facilities that let you brew your own beer and wine.

"It feels like a way to fit with what's going on and it works

Tweed's business continues to grow, and this week Linton said the
company celebrated its 20,000th customer in just two years,
representing more than half of all those who ever joined the previous
grow-at-home system in its 13 years of existence.

Strides have been made to normalize medical cannabis use through
political advocacy, physician education and stakeholder outreach.
Tweed has completed 18,000 face-to-face meetings with doctors, and
almost 8,000 doctors are now writing prescriptions for medical
marijuana, "up from zero two and a half years ago."

"Physicians aren't going to be as comfortable that (marijuana grown at
home) is the same thing," Linton said.

The company said, though, that choice is good. Those who wish to grow
moderate amounts of cannabis at home for personal consumption should
be allowed to do so.

"Ultimately, people will think 'I can buy it from that place the
government is running, and it's less costly, it's tested and it's for
sure what I'm buying, or we can do something else.

"There seems to be interested parties for each type, but we're not
running out of interested parties so far."
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MAP posted-by: Matt