Newshawk: CMAP ( http://www.mapinc.org/cmap )
Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2003
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mjcn.htm (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmjcn.htm (Cannabis - Medicinal - Canada)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization)
TIME TO GET OFF THE POT
If someone can explain to us the magical mystery tour that passes for Ottawa's marijuana policy these days, we'd love to hear it.
On the one hand, with much silly nudging and winking - including lame jokes by Prime Minister Jean Chretien - the Liberals are moving to decriminalize pot. But on the other, Health Minister Anne McLellan had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the courts into supplying pot to those who need it for medical reasons.
What's created is an impression of a government working to make marijuana more accessible to everyone - the practical effect of decriminalization - except for those who need it.
This week, forced by a court deadline it knew was coming for months, Ottawa rushed in a program to supply marijuana for medical purposes that has angered everyone with a stake in it.
Patients are upset the plan could be revoked within months if the feds win an appeal of the court decision. ( Ottawa says it's not convinced marijuana has any medicinal value and is planning clinical trials this winter. )
The Canadian Medical Association is angry because the government will deliver pot directly to doctors to supply to some of the 582 patients now legally entitled to use it. It says many doctors aren't convinced of marijuana's therapeutic value, don't want to give out a drug that hasn't been federally approved and could conceivably do harm, and don't want criminals breaking into their offices in search of marijuana.
Police say the $5/gram the feds are going to charge patients for marijuana means some people will try to abuse the system to get cheap pot.
And while Federal Solicitor General Wayne Easter has now promised to intervene, the RCMP complained the health ministry hasn't given it the names of the 413 patients entitled to grow their own pot, meaning the police could unknowingly bust down the doors of a legal growing operation. Meanwhile, Toronto police and other forces have given up enforcing the law on simple possession, until that law is clarified.
All in all, it's a huge mess created by a government that, on marijuana, continues to suck and blow at the same time.
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