Pubdate: Sun, 15 Oct 2017
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Page: 10


There are concerns that once pot is legalized for recreational use,
it'll be flying off the shelves at such a rate that those who
justifiably need it for pain - medical users - won't be able to get
their stash.

Cannabis growers have been expanding their operations as fast as
possible, and Health Canada is issuing more licences, but it still
might not be enough to meet the coming demand.

Some analysts expect a countrywide shortage once the cannabis market
goes legit in July 2018.

Health Canada says it expects growers to prioritize medical marijuana
patients. They should: people who genuinely need pot, as a way to
combat chronic pain, for example, deserve to keep getting their
medicine. Others, with recreational desires, shouldn't mind a bit of a

If people in pain can't get medical pot, they may turn to illicit
marijuana on the streets. Or, even worse, turn to high-powered
painkillers, such as opioids, and in turn become part of that awful

What the government should do is obvious: Build up a stockpile of
medical cannabis.

The federal government has an entire emergency stockpile program (it's
called the National Emergency Stockpile System, which includes
antibiotics, morphine and other drugs) already. Flu vaccines have been
stockpiled in the past.

In short, there's precedent for this, and would be relatively
straightforward to buy up a few months' supply of pot, which has a
long shelf life, just in case of trouble.

The government doesn't need to go fully heavy-handed and direct pot
companies to sell where the Liberals want, or to whom. It doesn't do
that with other necessary drugs. But it could set up its own reserve,
for a period of time, to alleviate some of the pressure on growers and

Many of the decisions made on the pot file feel like they've come from
politicians flying by the seat of their pants: rushed and hectic, with
little direction from the fed as the provinces scramble to come up
with the practical answers to hard questions around sales.

This is one place where the federal government can make a difference
and show some leadership on a complicated file.

It might even help some people.

That's what the government should endeavour to do for medical pot
users: help, not hurt.
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MAP posted-by: Matt