Pubdate: Wednesday, June 9, 1999
Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Copyright: 1999, The Toronto Star
Page: A8
Author: Tim Harper, Ottawa Bureau


OTTAWA -- Marijuana from Mississippi will be used for the first
clinical trials in Canada of the medicinal benefits of pot -- but
Allan Rock will confirm today that a long-term supply will be home-grown.

The federal health minister will announce he has accepted a trial
project submitted by Toronto's Community Research Initiative, which
proposed short-term tests of the effects of smoked marijuana on those
suffering from AIDS.

The Canadian-grown pot will not be available in time to get that off
the ground, so Rock will accept marijuana grown by the U.S. National
Institute of Drug Abuse from the University of Mississippi, a
government source said.

Rock will table documents today indicating he expects to have the
Mississippi pot available to him over the course of the summer and
begin Canada's first clinical tests by the end of 1999.

The tests will take place in a number of cities, including

But Rock is expected to announce Health Canada is negotiating with a
Canadian company that has developed a business plan for a steady
Canadian source of pot.

He will also announce Health Canada is negotiating with a British
firm, GW Pharmaceuticals, to conduct Canadian tests on the benefits of
"smokeless marijuana," in which a liquid form of pot is inhaled.

The tests will study the benefits of inhaled pot, which is taken
through devices similar to those used by asthma sufferers, but does
not expose users to the tar from smoked marijuana. It also gives no
high to the user.

Rock will also grant the first two exemptions under the Controlled
Substance Act, which allow those exempted to cultivate and smoke their
own marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The Ontario Superior Court last month granted that interim right to
Toronto AIDS activist Jim Wakeford, one of the two expected to get

Rock is reviewing another 30 applications and has promised decisions
on those cases within 15 working days of his department receiving all
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MAP posted-by: Derek Rea