Cannabis Review Threatens Patient Gardens:
A delayed review of the Cannabis Act asking Canadians a limited selection of questions has finally begun, including questions designed to justify shutting down the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). This review allows citizens to respond to several survey questions, or add other comments, until Nov 21. Over the next 8 weeks, I and other guest contributors will be posting articles explaining how legalization has failed patients, how improvements could be made and why there is a push to end the medical cannabis program from the medical and recreatrional industry.
Health Canada does not even try to hide their agenda. In the second to last section, they clearly ask if it would be ok to shut down the medical cannabis program. They fail to mention that would not only take away mail order but would also include the end of issuing licenses for patients to grow their own medicine.
“5.2 Is a distinct medical access program necessary to provide individuals with reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes, or can access needs be met through the non-medical framework? “
Patients, caregivers and the public need to speak out and display their frustration to Health Canada for even considering such a possibility. There are several powerful institutions that want the medical cannabis program shut down including the Canadian Medical Association, Licenced Producers, police associations, insurance companies, and the bureaucracy within Health Canada.
With no strong national cannabis patient group actively campaigning against this proposed change, there is a very real possibility that this could be the end of the ACMPR.
In 2014, patients have already been forced to fight to save their gardens after the Harper government attempted to stop issuing licences when they ended the Medical Marijiana Access Regulations and created the ACMPR. Their plan was to make patients purchase all of their medicine throught he mail from a number of competing companies. A constitutional challenge launched in federal court put a stop to that plan, forcing Health Canada to renew their program registering patient gardens as recommended by doctors.
Meanwhile compassion clubs like the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club are disappearing, as witnessed by the recent closing of the B.C. Compassion Club Society in Vancouver, leaving patients with few options for high-dosage edibles. Instead of being the pillars of the ACMPR, clubs like the VCBC have been treated like criminals. This survey is an opportunity for those few clubs remaining to gain public support towards a revived medical cannabis program
Now legalization poses a whole new threat to patients and the medical program.
If you are a patient that uses cannabis as a medicine, a caregiver or an aware citizen, then this is the time to speak out about the failing of the medical cannabis system and why it needs to be improved not scrapped. One week before submissions are closed we will publish the VCBC’s full response to the questions, giving everyone an opportunity to understand our position before sending their final answers before Nov 21. We appreciate any and all efforts to share this information and encourage people to fill out the questionnaire and save the medical cannabis program.