Medical marijuana: Health Canada admits program needs fixing

Medical marijuana: Health Canada admits program needs fixing
June 18, 2011 Dieter MacPherson

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (CAMCD) responds to news that the federal medical marijuana program will undergo a massive overhaul.

CAMCD was recently established to promote a regulated approach to medical cannabis access and is currently creating a certification system for dispensaries to ensure that high-quality care is available for patients across the country.

“Health Canada should be commended for recognizing what we have been saying all along: they should not be in the business of selling marijuana,” said Marc Boris St-Maurice, director of CAMCD. As Health Canada continues to tweak a failed program, medical cannabis dispensaries (also known as compassion clubs) are actively taking care of Canadians in need. For fifteen years, dispensaries have been providing safe access to medical cannabis, using reliable, experienced cultivators to supply them.

Legitimate concerns around medical cannabis could be solved by proper regulation and licensing of dispensaries. Our certification process can guarantee that nation-wide services and standards will be met.

Yesterday the health minister’s spokesman, Steve Outhouse, said “At this point in time, we will be looking to consult on changes that we hope will balance patient access with safety and security.”

To which Jeet-Kei Leung, director of CAMCD responded, “A complete and thorough consultation process must involve dispensaries. CAMCD directors represent over 20,000 patients and have extensive expertise in this sector.”

CAMCD is also concerned about any plans to take away the right for patients to produce their own cannabis. “Many patients have spent years finding the proper strains that work best for their conditions, and have invested significant resources in their gardens,” said Adam Greenblatt, director of CAMCD. “We sincerely hope Health Canada will continue to allow patients the option to produce their own cannabis.”

We will be following up with the minister’s office, and Health Canada, urging them to draw upon our unique experience in this field. We look forward to the consultative process and working to shape policies in the best interest of Canadians.

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