Andrew Brown

Editor

There is a power struggle going on in Canada, and most of the world for that matter, about the right to use cannabis. We have a conservative government that wishes to see all use made illegal, we have a majority of the population agreeing that “pot should be legalized,” and a court system that continuously rules that the rights of Canadians are being breached when we are not efficiently allowed to obtain it as medicine.

Now, medical cannabis users are facing big changes to the medical access program through Health Canada—changes that will actually make access more difficult for many people. While some of the changes are positive, like being able to go directly from your doctor to a licensed distribution centre to obtain the medicine, the right to produce your own medicine is being taken away. This removes affordability of the medicine, as these distribution centres are free to set their own prices. It is important to note that the current government supply is of very poor quality, is not organic, is irradiated, and costs $150 an ounce—it even comes with a return slip! So if that, loosely labeled, medical marijuana costs that much, we can only guess at the cost of a product through a private, for-profit corporate system.

The reality is that these proposed changes go against recent court rulings, as having “doctors as gatekeepers” and access to specific strains are still problematic. We can only hope that if these proposed changes come to fruition, that they will be struck down in court (as long as Harper has not stacked the Supreme Court by that time), but this is a long process that forces ill people into stressful court proceedings.

It is very obvious that these changes are simply part of the Harper agenda, and the well-being of Canadians is falling to the wayside of corporate profits and ideological nonsense. The science is there to prove the medicinal value of cannabis, so what does our prime-minister need to change his mind? I refuse to allow personal health decisions to become a matter of the state.

Our freedoms are being systematically eroded. Most people do not to act/react when a freedom, that doesn’t really affect them, gets taken away. Smoking in public places is a good example. Most people find it annoying to smell second hand smoke, and are happy that these bylaws have been enacted, but the reality is that the smoke from the cigarette is far less harmful than the exhaust coming from the cars (in the big picture) that fill our city. But I don’t smoke, so why should I care? Right?

Just remember the famous quote from Pastor Martin Niemöller about the Nazi rise to power:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

This isn’t the holocaust, but it is a war on a culture.