Pubdate: Thu, 22 Dec 2016
Source: Cochrane Eagle (CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Cochrane Eagle
Author: Lindsay Seewalt


As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau moves closer to following through
with his campaign promise to legalize recreational cannabis,
businesses and individuals are waiting to see the local impact and
some feel that legalization would remove stigma surrounding those who
also use cannabis for medical reasons.

The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation released its
final report to the federal government last week, which will be used
to inform legislation to be introduced to parliament this spring.

It is too preliminary to abstract a possible implementation timeline
beyond that.

"The new legislation would come into force after being passed by
parliament and once regulations have been developed. It is not
possible to predict how long it will take for it to be passed by
parliament," said Valerie Gervais, press secretary for the office of
the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

For one Cochrane woman, who requested anonymity for fear of
professional ramifications, legalization would help push past the
stigmas faced by those who seek cannabis therapy for health issues.

This woman, who has chronically suffered from debilitating migraines
for years now carries a medical marijuana card. Following a journey of
dissatisfaction with traditional western medical therapies, she said
she was looking for a natural alternative.

Since using medical marijuana for her health issues, she said her
migraines have reduced from 15 to 20 per month to less than five.

Valerie McVeigh, manager of Cochrane hemp shop Puff N Stuff, said she
is seeing a steady increase in medical marijuana card carriers and
feels that legalization would help eliminate the negative perceptions
surrounding marijuana use.

"We are really glad people feel comfortable enough to come in and ask
her help," said McVeigh, adding that many of these card carriers are
over the age of 50.

"The way we are looking at it is that it would be a logical
progression for us to sell marijuana," said McVeigh, adding that it's
too preliminary to guess when that would take place.

Earlier this fall, Shoppers Drug Mart Canada announced it has applied
to become a dispensary for medical marijuana.

Leithe Holowaty, owner of Cochrane Shoppers Drug Mart, said with a
roll out of 1,200 stores across Canada, she has yet to sit at the
table with the pharmacy chain to discuss whether Cochrane would be
considered as a dispensary location.

"If and when we delve into it, I just hope we have thought about
everything," said Holowaty, who said the pharmacy has seen a steady
increase in consumers interested in medical marijuana therapy.

"People are interested to know more about it … people are looking for

The nearby Village of Cremona is home to what may soon be the world's
largest medical marijuana production facility - Aurora Cannabis.

The task force report covers a plethora of issues including public
safety, protection of youth, distribution, cultivation and taxation.

The full report is available for public viewing on the Government of
Canada's website.
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