September 2011 CAMCD Update

September 2011 CAMCD Update
September 30, 2011 Dieter MacPherson

In this update:

1) Health Canada and Dispensaries Meet over Roundtables
2) Government Relations Campaign Funding Appeal
3) CAMCD’s Standards
4) Bill C-10 Introduced

1) Health Canada and Dispensaries Meet over Roundtables

On Sept. 7, CAMCD, along with over 15 BC based medical cannabis dispensaries, took part in the second Health Canada roundtable discussing the proposed changes to the MMAP. You can read our press release by clicking here.

On Sept. 15 CAMCD, along with over 15 Ontario based medical cannabis dispensaries, took part in the third Health Canada roundtable discussing the proposed changes to the MMAP. You can read our press release by clicking here.

The timeline for this process is as follows. After the pre-consultative stage (which is happening now), a draft of regulations will be published in Gazette I and then there will be a consultation period. After any further amendments are made, the final regulations will then be published in Gazette II estimated to be by the end of 2013. There will be a transition period until the new program is implemented in 2014 (i.e. until a new supply is established). Up until that time it is business as usual – Health Canada has hired 30 more staff for the program and are hiring 30 more in the near future.

Health Canada has received over 2000 email responses to their proposed amendment. They are currently meeting with dispensaries, provinces/territories, physician groups, law enforcement and municipalities over September and October. They will be providing a summary of these consultation results at some point. We want to note that dispensaries have never before been officially regarded as stakeholders.

CAMCD spent some time advocating for more meaningful consultation with patients, who are the key stakeholders. Health Canada reps expressed that it was difficult to have face to face meetings with 11,000 patients in their program (and others not in their program). We encouraged them to try.

We also spoke about PPL/DPL. They heard from everyone strong support to keep the PPL as well as DPL. . The main issue, besides the funds patients and their DG’s have invested in production, is cost to patients. We acknowledge problems of abuse of the system and offered suggestions on how to address those without creating an adverse impact on patients.

Regarding access, we talked about the imperative for cost coverage as a key component of access, as well as the inclusion of health care practitioners other than physicians, and dispensary services (access to education, support, different cannabis strains and products) as important aspects for a viable program that meets patients’ needs.

CAMCD believes we should make the most out of the pre-consultative process – this is really the only stage at which we can have any meaningful input. The Health Canada reps working on the amendments are engaging in a thorough process and CAMCD believes they have the intention of drafting the best set of regulations that they can.

The Health Canada reps have a mind to the nitty gritty of how the program would work on their end on a practical level, because that is what the government is interested in. We need to bring them our perspective and CAMCD is doing so in an organized fashion.

We are pleased that Health Canada is recognizing dispensaries as legitimate stakeholders and we look forward to continuing to provide our expertise in this process. We strongly believe that our Standards and Certification process is the ideal way to transition the medical cannabis sector from a legal grey zone into the MMAP’s regulatory framework.

2) Government Relations Campaign Funding Appeal

CAMCD has raised enough funds to continue our government relations campaign until Oct. 31. We need your help to continue our campaign until the end of 2011 and into the new year. CAMCD has retained a top government relations firm to aid us in developing relationships with Health Canada and the Conservative Government. We believe that the value of this strategy has already become evident. It is important that we sustain our government relations campaign over the next 18 month period while Health Canada is reforming the MMAP, if we are to have the concerns of patients and their providers meaningfully heard and addressed.

We need to raise $9 000/month on top of current contributions to continue this campaign. The funds go towards retaining our government relations specialists, travel to Ottawa, and expenses incurred preparing presentations and documents. While this figure may seem large, between the combined support of patients and their providers, it is definitely within reach, as CAMCD has shown over the past 3 months. If 15 dispensaries were to contribute $600 per month, we would be able to easily sustain this campaign. Likewise, many small donations of $5 will add up quickly and fill funding gaps that exist.

We greatly appreciate any funding that our supporters can provide. Your donation can make a large impact on improving medical cannabis access for patients in Canada.

To make a donation, please either contact us or click the “support us” button to donate via PayPal.

3) CAMCD’s Standards

CAMCD’s Standards document is progressing well. We are aiming to launch the Standards in January of 2012 and begin providing applications to dispensaries. Following the application process, if the dispensary is Certified based on CAMCD’s Standards, it is also able to join CAMCD as a member if desired. We very much are looking forward to this new phase of CAMCD and having our colleagues in the industry join the organization and collaborate on this work with us. We believe that CAMCD’s Standards will result in consistent high quality patient care across the country, and increased credibility and acceptance of dispensaries.

4) Bill C-10 Introduced

The Conservative Government introduced Bill C-10 in the House of Commons on Sept. 20 2011. CAMCD is concerned about the impacts that this bill may have on patients and their providers. You can read our press release by clicking here.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Sincerely,

the volunteers at CAMCD

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