HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html McLellan
Pubdate: Sun, 17 Nov 2002
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2002 Winnipeg Free Press
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


2nd Batch Ready, Better Results Expected

OTTAWA -- The first batch of marijuana grown by a private company under a 
Health Canada contract was useless for clinical trials and had to be 
burned, Health Minister Anne McLellan told Montreal's La Presse in an 
interview published yesterday. Prairie Plant Systems Inc. received a 
five-year, $5-million federal contract to grow marijuana in an abandoned 
copper mine in Flin Flon, but McLellan said their first batch was not uniform.

Prairie Plant Systems was unable to receive a supply of standardized 
marijuana seeds from the United States, McLellan said, so the company 
turned to the RCMP, which supplied seeds that were seized in various raids.

"So there definitely wasn't any standardization of the product," McLellan 
told La Presse. "From the first harvest it was very clear -- my people did 
the tests here -- that there were all sorts of marijuana. Plants from 
different stocks with rates of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, that 
varied from plant to plant. All of it had to be burned."

Scientists have since been able to produce standardized seeds that have led 
to a second, more uniform harvest in Flin Flon which will be used for testing.

"That harvest is in the process of being checked," McLellan said. "It will 
soon be available for clinical trials." McLellan denied the perception that 
she does not favour the use of marijuana for medicinal uses. But she said 
there is still no scientific proof of these claims.

"In fact, we don't know enough," she said. "I asked my ministry to examine 
all of the research.

"... The problem is that if you want a doctor to prescribe you some pot, he 
would be very reticent to do so without serious medical and scientific 
facts that would allow him to make a clear decision," she said.

"If they prescribe this product without knowing if there are serious 
side-effects, without knowing how pot interacts with other substances or 
other chemical cocktails, they risk facing lawsuits," McLellan said.
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