Pubdate: Sun, 09 Apr 2017
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Darrin LR Fiddler
Page: A7


Editor: One must ask the lawmakers and backers, "Whose side are you on?"

Each time a cop busts a compassion club, they hand power back to the
underground economy. I don't believe this is the effect they were
aiming for. What does kicking in the door of compassion say about our
laws and their views on medical care?

Under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations
(ACMPRR), a patient can acquire any source of cannabis material, but
recently only from licensed producers (LPs). There are currently
almost 130,000 Canadians registered in the program. When these doors
are shut, patients are left out on the street at risk of purchasing
contaminated or spiked cannabis to treat their condition.

Compassion clubs and dispensaries want to contribute to society, pay
their taxes and remove the risks of patients unknowingly buying
contaminated products. Though unregulated, compassion clubs seek
tested, medical-grade cannabis for their customers. Some of the
product is provided by the 38 authorized licensed producers for
medical purposes, some through less-than-legit sources.

Compassion clubs fulfilled a niche that medical doctors have shied
away from. They provided a service no one else could or was willing

Of course, not all medical cannabis is created equal. The product with
the multi-million-dollar backing of licensed producers is more than
welcome by the government. But trust in them has fallen with reports
of illegal pesticide use and contaminated recalls. Then comes the
matter of how much they're charging.

When I envision legalization, it is of communities providing their own
unique varietals, a la the wine industry. I saw a boon for
municipalities and provinces, not the profiting of a mere handful of

We have dealt with unjust laws before. Martin Luther King, Jr., while
in at Birmingham jail, wrote: "I submit that an individual who breaks
a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts
the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the
community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest
respect for law."

But what injustice is there? That the anti-marijuana laws have always
been more a racial issue that scientific? That after medical
legalization, the acquisition remained illegal? That compassion clubs
and then dispensaries stepped in to fill a gap left for the patients
to figure out? That this same underground industry lobbied for
legalization and stood with the patients during this turbulent and
stubborn process? That with the announcement of legalization, big
industry has been handed the prize while the compassionate have been
designated the enemy?

The law must quit picking on the cannabis patient, the one bearing the
blunt of the blow. These clubs and businesses were there for them when
nobody else was available. They developed trust, yet are now being
told to use one of the multi-million dollar corporations whom were
given the reins.

Law enforcement has more pressing matters than hunting down someone
selling an herb that is already legal to sell through the corporate
structure. Cannabis must be decriminalized until full legalization is
figured out. Take the focus off cannabis and start working on taking
down the fentanyl, crack and meth dealers.

It's not too late. Provinces can counter the federal swoop, demanding
more control of this everso-valuable industry. I find it wrong that
the government has shoved the big boys to the front of the line while
dealing penalties for those who have been there since the beginning.

Compassion clubs and dispensaries deserve some respect, and will
surely have a place in our country's medical history for their
service. How do those put in charge wish to be viewed on their
treatment of an industry that has ease the lives of thousands?

I believe full legalization of cannabis is the responsible approach to
ending this war on drugs. I have studied the subject for the past
decade and watched how our neighbours to the south have tackled the
issue. If you have any questions or concerns, contact me  I'd be happy to assist you in this time of

Darrin LR Fiddler, COO, Mariceuticals Inc./ Okanagan Green Hemp, Kelowna
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MAP posted-by: Matt