Pubdate: Tue, 30 Aug 2016
Source: Toronto 24hours (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Canoe Inc.
Author: Sarah Hanlon
Page: 5


They took their own sweet time but the federal government has finally
made necessary changes to the Marijuana for Medical Purposes
Regulations (MMPR).

People who sign up through the new Access to Cannabis for Medical
Purposes Regulations (ACMPR for short - oy! - so many acronyms!) can
now grow their own weed or give one person the right to grow it for

The amount of cannabis you can grow is small, regulated and dependent
on the recommended dosages a patient should receive.

The about-face is the result of a February Supreme Court ruling which
ruled that patients who needed cannabis for medical reasons were not
getting "reasonable access".

This was the exact same decision that gave the recently raided and
reopened dispensaries a legal leg to stand on.

They were operating on the presumption that the Supreme Court would
rule in their favour given the limited amount of access.

Now, the new ACMPR rules appear to be a direct attempt by the feds to
de-legitimize that legal argument.

In the Health Canada document describing the changes, they make clear
to note "What's Still Illegal (...) storefronts selling marijuana,
commonly known as 'dispensaries' and 'compassion clubs,' are not
authorized to sell cannabis for medical or any other purposes."

While I commend the government for opening up the right to grow pot, I
don't believe these new rules fully rectify the difficulties of
patient access. For patients who don't already have the knowledge --
and ability -- to grow, this change does nothing to remedy their
access problems. Growing will NOT help patients who are 'shopping
around' for the best ways to consume their medicine. It takes a whole
lot of time, money and energy to grow a plant to maturity only to find
out that the strain doesn't work for your particular condition.

It also takes a lot of know-how and patience to make topical creams,
salves, edibles, tinctures and all the other marvellous health
products that come from cannabis.

These new rules do NOTHING to provide access to any of these methods
despite them being less harmful to the lungs than the smoking of dried
bud - which is basically the only thing they provide access to.

(Recently, some LP's have started selling drops that can be consumed
orally but their efficiency has been questioned.)

ACMPR regulations ignore other critiques of the MMPR program. For
patients who struggle to order from the government program because of
they lack a credit card or consistent mailing address the 'grow your
own' mandate does nothing because growing cannabis would require both
a large initial investment and a home of one's own.

The government must know that every medical cannabis user is not: a
green thumb with a degree in horticulture; have a background in
eastern medicine; just loves to bake and make lotions; who also has
spare time to become an expert in weed in order to cure their eczema.

There are terrific -- yet illegal -- dispensaries currently operating
in the city that offer all of these services at the same or lower
prices than the government charges for dried, warehouse weed.

Plus they offer yoga, acupuncture, workshops on dealing with chronic
disorders, Reiki, massage and relaxation seminars; the list of
services is endless and always changing.

Until the government can top the services that these storefronts
deliver, ones that people are quickly becoming used to and falling in
love with, the argument remains the same: people need it - and we got
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt