HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Post Office Refuses To Ship Legal Marijuana
Pubdate: Fri, 04 Jun 2004
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Ottawa Citizen
Author: Marci Surkes
Cited: Health Canada
Cited: Canada Post
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)


Health Canada Gives OK, But Canada Post Says No

Canada Post is refusing to ship medicinal marijuana between federally 
licensed growers and users despite having no basis for such a denial.

Michel Aube, a Health Canada-approved medicinal marijuana user who lives in 
Brockville has not received a recent shipment his licensed supplier sent 
him more than a month ago.

And, according to Canada Post spokesman John Caines, the package will not 
be delivered because it contains a controlled substance.

However, Health Canada spokesperson Catherine Saunders said that marijuana 
being transported between licensed growers and licensed recipients is 

Such a shipment, she said, "is legal under the federal Controlled Drugs and 
Substances Act."

The cannabis was mailed from Brian Taylor in Grand Forks, B.C. on April 22, 
but never arrived at Mr. Aube's house. It was Mr. Taylor's second shipment 
to Mr. Aube, who suffers from chronic and severe back pain.

The first package did arrive from Canada Post, but it was battered and its 
odour easily detectable from a distance. Each package -- about one month's 
supply -- contained about three ounces of marijuana.

Mr. Aube was frustrated with the condition of the first package, but he did 
not file a complaint with Canada Post.

When the second package failed to arrive, he waited the 20-day minimum 
before contacting the Canada Post ombudsman.

"Nobody would tell me where my package was and I had to go back to 120 ml 
of morphine a day. I had been down to 30."

Without marijuana, Mr. Aube must resort to using morphine to ease suffering 
from the chronic and severe back pain he experiences due to soft tissue 
damage in the vertebrae.

Mr. Taylor's packages were tightly wrapped with duct tape, in compliance 
with the most recent Health Canada regulations for the shipment of 
medicinal marijuana.

Both packages were nondescript and stamped only with the three-letter 
abbreviation "CRI," for the Cannabis Research Institute, and a return address.

On his end, Mr. Taylor, the former mayor of Grand Forks, filed a lost item 
complaint with Canada Post in Vancouver detailing the precise contents of 
the missing package.

However, Mr. Taylor was warned by a Canada Post spokesperson that he should 
refrain from shipping medicinal marijuana through the Crown corporation 
because, if detected, it would be confiscated.

Mr. Caines added that while Mr. Taylor had a license to grow marijuana, he 
did not have a license to ship the substance through Canada Post because 
"Purolator is the only registered carrier of the substance."

But Ms. Saunders, of Health Canada, denied that claim.

She said there is no separate shipping license for growers and, according 
to the Regulations Amending the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations of 
December 2003, growers may ship using any courier -- including Canada Post 
- -- so long as that courier meets three criteria: a means of tracking the 
package during transit, obtaining a signed acknowledgment of receipt by the 
holder of the authorization to possess it, and safekeeping of the package 
during transit.

Mr. Aube desperately wants to wean himself from morphine reliance, which 
has caused him to lose nearly 100 pounds due to a loss of appetite. In 
addition, while on morphine, he lives in a state of constant lethargy but 
is unable to sleep for longer than three hours a night.

"It's killing me. If I had to go to jail to be able to smoke pot instead of 
morphine then I would. I thought this problem was behind me, that I had 
finally found a way to get my pot easily and legally."

Canada Post said yesterday that if the package is located it will remain 
undeliverable under the corporation's non-mailable substances policy.

The package was scanned with its tracking number in the Grand Forks post 
office, but subsequently disappeared from the system. It was not rerouted 
to Canada Post's undeliverable mail facility and the corporation has no 
knowledge of police confiscation.

Mr. Taylor shipped a replacement dosage to Mr. Aube this week using a 
private courier that cost nearly three times the price of Canada Post, the 
primary reason he used Canada Post in the first place.
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