HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html New Policy Hurting Legal Grow-op
Pubdate: Tue, 14 Dec 2004
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 The Province
Author: Don Harrison


Growers Say Nation's Pot Source Poor

Health Canada's monopoly on medicinal pot means the ill can't get the
weed they need, say pot growers and two of their customers.

Eric Nash and Wendy Little run Island Harvest in the Cowichan Valley,
supplying medical marijuana to 40 clients across Canada.

Island Harvest is relying on an Ontario court ruling to stay in
business, despite Ottawa's decision last December to allow just one
Canadian supplier, in Flin Flon, Man.

Nash, referring to letters his clients have received from Health
Canada, said Ottawa is trying to shut him down.

Ottawa hasn't told him anything.

"I'm just writing my third letter to them," Nash said yesterday. "We
sent a registered letter in September . . . then another letter in

"The crazy thing about medical marijuana is it's legal and now Health
Canada is putting those people back on the streets" to buy pot because
the Flin Flon pot is of poor quality and expensive.

Health Canada's Catherine Saunders, who said she was surprised that
Island Harvest had not been contacted, said the only legal medicinal
pot comes from Prairie Plant Systems, which grows it in an abandoned
mine in Flin Flon.

It charges $150, plus taxes and shipping, for an ounce. Health Canada
allows 200 Canadians to smoke medicinal marijuana.

Saunders said one supplier is preferable to uphold "certain
international obligations."

A study last year found high levels of lead and arsenic in the Flin
Flon pot -- it was a zinc and copper mine -- and not enough active
ingredient to lessen pain of the sick.

Flin Flon pot costs 50 per cent more than Island Harvest pot.

Multiple sclerosis sufferer and former North Vancouver RCMP officer
Cam Cavaco turned to Island Harvest because the Flin Flon pot did not
help limit his pain.

"I am perhaps one of the only patients to return the Health Canada
product," he said.

Saskatchewan injury victim Geoff Wright, another Island Harvest user,
wrote to Health Canada saying "Health Canada's role is to facilitate
clients, not impede them as they are doing now."
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