Pubdate: Thu, 25 Aug 2016
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Pamela Fayerman
Page: A3


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked doctors for their opinions on the
Liberals' promised legalization of the recreational use of marijuana.
He's about to hear an earful from them.

At one of the final sessions of the annual meeting of the Canadian
Medical Association in Vancouver on Wednesday, delegates aired
concerns that a psychoactive drug that affects brain development is
being legitimized to the point the public thinks it's a benign
substance, along with other objections.

Marijuana can be prescribed for medical purposes in Canada, but it is
still illegal for recreational use - although numerous doctors
attending the conference commented on the ubiquitous smell of cannabis
every time they went outside the Westin Bayshore, where the annual
meeting has been held.

Jeff Blackmer, the CMA vice-president of professional affairs, said
after the feds announced plans to legalize marijuana, the CMA was
asked to collect the views of the profession, so an electronic poll
was recently done, eliciting nearly 800 responses. Poll findings include:

Forty-five per cent of doctors said Canadians over the age of 21
should be able to buy legal marijuana and 35 per cent said the age
should be 18 or 19.

When asked where people should be allowed to consume non-medical
marijuana, 80 per cent of doctors said their homes, 36 per cent said
designated public places and 43 per cent said wherever tobacco is permitted.

Seventy-two per cent said government should regulate THC levels in
non-medical marijuana.

Dr. Barb Blumenauer of Kamloops said children have required intensive
care unit admissions and mechanical breathing support from using
marijuana. She called for the establishment of a national database to
measure hospitalizations.

"It is a misnomer that marijuana is a harmless substance. That is
certainly not the case with children," she said, adding that B.C. has
seen pediatric poisoning cases, seizures and comas.

Ottawa obstetrician and gynecologist Jennifer Blake said she can't
recall another drug that has been licensed and legalized with "such
little evidence." She said when the CMA makes its submission to the
federal government, it should stress the need for quality research and
long-term monitoring.
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MAP posted-by: Matt