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Back off medical marijuana, group says
By: Shella Gardezi
Date: 07/19/2003
Web posted at: 12:00 p.m. EDT

Canada already has a safe and effective means of medical marijuana distribution and does not need interference from the federal government says a national organization.

Dominic Cramer of the Toronto chapter of Canadians for Safe Access says the federal government is bungling medical marijuana legislation. Health Canada has faced opposition from the Canadian Medical Association over a plan to allow doctors to distribute marijuana through their offices. As well, Dr. Gregory Robinson resigned from the Stakeholder Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana last week because he felt its advice was being ignored.

Cramer says he is not surprised doctors are upset about being asked to distribute marijuana.

"It's not their job," he says.

He says the government's policy has been "schizophrenic." Not only have they been working against each other they have also been working against patients and doctors, he says.

Cramer says the government did not properly research their plan to provide medical marijuana.

"There was no conference or discussion. They realized that they had to do something so they pulled it out of their hat," he says.

Cramer, who is also a founding member of the Toronto Compassion Centre, says compassion societies have been distributing medical marijuana since the late 1970s and have the experience and expertise to distribute it properly. He says it is not a drug but a natural remedy and does not belong in the pharmaceutical category. Compassion clubs are able to distribute to small towns such as Belleville through normal methods of delivery as long as it is done with care, he says. The patient would only need to visit a larger centre once for an initial consultation while follow-up could be done over the telephone. A compassion club in Kingston that declined to comment for this article.

Cramer sees hope for the chronically ill in the recent Ontario Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized marijuana in Ontario and hopes the Canadian Supreme Court will follow suit. If it does, the decision will simply legitimize the distribution which has already been established.

He says compassion clubs occasionally face harassment by police and politicians.

"However, they are accepted and to a point supported by politicians, police and medical associations," he says.

Canadians for Safe Access is an umbrella group representing marijuana rights organizations across the country.


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