HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Organic Pot New Medical Option
Pubdate: Mon, 28 Apr 2003
Source: Halifax Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2003 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Dirk Meissner / Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Medical Marijuana Free of Pesticides Available From Legally Certified Grower

DUNCAN, B.C. (CP) - Eric Nash and his wife, Wendy Little, grow the 
healthiest legal pot in Canada.

Nash and Little are the first federally licensed medical marijuana growers 
in Canada to have their crop officially certified 100 per cent organic.

It's a healthy bonus for the thousands of Canadians who could use it to 
ease suffering from a wide range of conditions, including multiple 
sclerosis, cancer, arthritis and AIDS, Nash says in an interview at his 
home in this Vancouver Island community about 70 kilometres north of Victoria.

The Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia, an organization 
likely more accustomed to monitoring the production of carrots or spinach, 
granted Nash and Little certified organic status this month.

In British Columbia, where the RCMP says that black market marijuana worth 
billions is the province's largest cash crop, Nash displays his organic 
certification like a badge of honour.

Nash, 44, and Little, 41, do not fit the stereotype of typical marijuana 
growers or pot smokers.

Both graduated from university with honours, Little in education and Nash 
in visual arts. They have an eight-year-old daughter and live in an 
attractive, art-filled home in an older Duncan neighbourhood.

Nash, a Web site designer and former professional horticulturist, says 
organic certification is a step forward in the slow march toward getting 
Ottawa to acknowledge that marijuana has wide-ranging medicinal qualities.

"It's raising the credibility of medicinal marijuana as a legitimate 
medicine, as a safe medicine, as an alternative medicine to all the 
pharmaceuticals and other things that people tried that don't work," Nash says.

People who are sick or in pain deserve access to medicine - what Nash calls 
his marijuana - grown without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, 
he says.

"I want to ensure these people are getting certified organic marijuana for 
their health problem," Nash says. "I want people to know it's been 
inspected every step of the way, from the soils to the fertilizers."

He gladly admits telling an agricultural feed store employee recently that 
he was growing organic marijuana for medicinal purposes, legally.

"Her jaw just about dropped on the floor," Nash says.

Nash and Little are two of the 36 Canadians licensed by Health Canada to 
produce medical marijuana for ill people.

The federal Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, enacted in July 2001, 
allow people to apply to legally grow their own marijuana or designate a 
grower for their supply.

Ottawa granted Prairie Plant Systems Inc., a five-year, $5.7-million 
contract in 2000 to grow marijuana in an old copper mine in Flin Flon, Man.

But Health Canada has said it will not make any of its Flin Flon marijuana 
available to patients because it wants to see scientific proof about 
whether the drug is effective.

Nash says the medicinal marijuana approval process is complicated and 
requires completion of lengthy forms by patients and their doctors.

"An incredible amount of people don't feel comfortable asking their doctor 
for cannabis for medicine," he says. "Many feel the doctor will think, 'I'm 
just asking for pot.' "

Nash provides his organic medical marijuana to a Vancouver Island woman 
with MS and his wife supplies marijuana to an Edmonton man, also with MS.

Licensed growers are permitted by law to distribute marijuana to one person 
and it must be on a non-profit basis, says Nash.
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