Dear Editor,

I write you today as a federally licensed medicinal marihuana card holder. I am only one of a growing number of medical patients who are turning to Marihuana for pain relief.

Not only does the public need to be educated on their rights as patients (and the medicine that they are entitled to), but also, everyone should be aware of the BS politics, bureaucracy, and stigmas still attached to this medicine.

Approximately seven years ago, I was in a motor vehicle accident, where I suffered severe whiplash. I continue to suffer from neck and shoulder pain, as well as regular migraines. After years of pharmaceutical treatments ranging from Tylenol 3, to Oxy-codone, Percocet, Nitroglycerine, and even costly therapeutic Botox, I found my quality of life decreasing due to the side effects—like cloudiness (I couldn’t spell, think, or live any sort of normal life), sleepiness, lack of motivation, and addiction. All of these treatments are also very expensive.

In 2009, I began researching alternative medical treatments, because I was sick of what pharmaceuticals were doing to me. The Medical Marihuana Access Program came to my attention immediately. Once I tried cannabis, I knew this was the medicine I needed to take. No longer suffering from stupidity, lack of motivation, etc., I was able to refocus on the important things in life.

After an extremely long and tedious application (36+ pages!), numerous doctor visits, specialist appointments, passport photos, criminal record checks, hoop jumping, hurdles, and misinformation, I finally received an approval from the Federal Government to become Federally Licensed to possess and grow my own marihuana.

The eight month application delay, hoop jumping hoopla seemed quite ridiculous to me. I, at least, am still able to function, but what about those who are extremely ill, cannot stand up for themselves, and need medicine immediately? Not legally allowed to possess marihuana before receiving a license makes it frustrating for patients, also infringing on basic human rights to medical care and treatment.

Shortly after I received my license, a very close friend, and well established business owner in my area, expressed his interest in medicinal marihuana as well. My friend suffers from terminal liver, lung, and kidney cancer. His application was processed much quicker, as his condition is much more critical. Those with MS and cancer can, and do, (thankfully) receive the license sooner—but they still have to wait months for the application to be approved.

I am now just realizing the true scope of the problems associated with the Medical Marihuana Access Program. Health Canada does not provide any sort of direction. It seems every time I call with a question (to a call center who is sub-contracted by Health Canada, who passes on the messages to Health Canada) I get a different answer. It honestly seems that Health Canada make up their policies as they go along. There is NO SUPPORT from the government for us medical users.

I was forced from British Columbia, as I was simply unable to afford a property to grow my own medicine, let alone the cost of setting up a room. I have recently relocated back to Alberta where I can more realistically afford property, and  partnered with another Federally licensed producer/patient.

My partner and I are determined to set up a LEGALLY OPERATING grow facility. Going this route, however, rather than setting up an “underground” facility has lead us to more headaches than we could have ever imagined. Let me just say, it would have been MUCH easier to go the underground route to get and produce our medicine, but we refuse to go that way. Before coming to Alberta, I alerted the RCMP, Calgary City Police, and the Calgary Green team. They knew I was coming, and they know what I am doing. I have nothing to hide. I am not associated with gangs, and am not a criminal. I do not want to make money off of marihuana. I want to help people get better. I should not be treated like a criminal—yet that is what I keep running into.

My partner and I hired professional electricians, got all of the necessary permits, and we have even been inspected by the City of Calgary. I find that I am now being stonewalled by the City Inspector, who seems to be very obtuse with what we are doing. In his views, we are setting up a “grow-op,” which in my mind, has a very dirty and dark connotation. This plant is my MEDICINE—not POT. I am not a stoner, I am a certified Chef, and my wife a Teacher. We are respectable citizens in the community. The City Inspector is obviously in disagreement with what we are doing, and is now doing everything in his power to ensure my partner and I remain unable to access our medicine. Again, going against basic human rights.

My biggest beef with this program is that Health Canada does not provide growers with any general rules to follow. Health Canada only tells you how many plants you can have, not how to safely implement a medical facility. This, I believe, is immoral. I pay my taxes! Our government is here because of us taxpayers! Yet I feel I have NO support whatsoever from them.

I have become a true believer in this medicine. The more research I do, the stronger my belief becomes. I am now clear headed, I have appetite, I can function, and be a contributing member of society again—I cannot say the same while I was on pharmaceuticals.

I recently lost my father to cancer this past August. It was a terrible thing to experience, and I would not wish this disease upon my worst enemy. I watched a healthy, strong, vibrant man deteriorate quickly, taking a booklet of pharmaceuticals every single day—morphine, chemotherapy, radiation—all the while knowing that I was holding the key to a potential cure. There are many studies now that show Marihuana is a possible CURE for cancer, but Pharmaceutical companies would never tell you that—they make FAR too much money ensuring they keep us all sick!

The marihuana plant cannot be patented, which is why this medicine has not been embraced by the pharmaceutical industry. This medicine is a threat because it works.

Sick people all across Canada are fighting illnesses that can be treated with marihuana. The general public needs to know that it is time to change course, but so too does the MMAR program. Major changes need to be made to the Health Canada program in order to better support those of us who are taking our health into our own hands. There are simple fundamental problems that need to be addressed with the MMAR program, including providing safe options for production facilities, and support to build those facilities. Insurance companies are also against growing marihuana for medical purposes. If one could find an insurance company who would carry you, not only would the premiums be astronomical, but so too would the deductibles.

This is why I turn to the media now. I need help. I want to help people, but I need to help myself first. I vowed after my father died, that I would devote my life to ensuring other people wouldn’t need to suffer the same death sentence that he did.

I would be extremely grateful to have this message forwarded to anyone willing to listen. I am also willing to invite you into our facility to view what we are doing, and to show the public how a safe operation can be done. (Making note of the hurdles to be jumped to get to that point.)

I am thankful for your time, and hope this story is one that can be shared with others.

Most sincerely,

Brian Jones