Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jan 2018
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Jon Willing
Page: 4


Tell people how to produce pot safely: Health unit

If the federal government will let people grow pot in their homes,
Health Canada had better explain how to do it safely.

That's one of the pieces of advice from Ottawa Public Health, months
before marijuana hits the legal retail market and the federal
government relaxes cannabis laws across the country.

The feds will allow adults to grow up to four marijuana plants in
their homes for personal use.

Vera Etches, the acting medical officer of health at OPH, wrote to
Health Canada earlier this month as the federal agency collected
feedback on the proposed cannabis regulations ahead of legalization
this summer.

"At this time, there do not seem to be measures to ensure the safe
production of home-cultivated cannabis," Etches wrote. "This is a
public health concern."

Etches pointed to potential problems with altered electrical wiring,
mould and chemical hazards, which are often discovered in larger grow-ops.

Health Canada "should ensure that Canadians have the knowledge and
tools for safe home cultivation of cannabis," Etches told the agency.

The board of health is scheduled to receive OPH's cannabis
harm-reduction plan during a meeting on Monday.

In recent years, OPH has been worried about the high level of alcohol
and opioid use in Ottawa. Now, health officials will turn their
attention to cannabis use by trying to encourage people, especially
youths, to avoid it or at least curb their cannabis intake.

Gillian Connelly, the health unit's manager of healthy communities,
said OPH is working with the school boards, addictions agencies and
police on messages they can share with parents.

A random telephone survey of 400 Ottawa residents commissioned by OPH
in December helped health officials understand people's perceptions of
marijuana. OPH learned half of Ottawa adults have consumed cannabis in
their lives and 19% have consumed cannabis in the past 12 months.

For those who said they hadn't consumed cannabis in the past 12
months, 13% said they would at least be "moderately likely" to try it
if cannabis was legal.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt