Opinion

New medical marijuana laws an April Fool’s joke?

I don’t know all that much about Canada’s new medical marijuana laws but it seems clear we are headed for a disaster of at least minor proportions.

Set to kick in on April 1 (what wonderful timing), the new laws give the boot to existing, lawful, personal medical-marijuana grow operations and authorizations to possess.

As of that date, the Health Canada web site says:  “… the only legal access to marijuana for medical purposes will be through licensed producers under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, even if you have an authorization to possess, or a licence to produce that has a later date.”

There was also a news release earlier this week from Health Canada that said people with existing authorizations to grow or possess marijuana had to show proof they had destroyed their stash or tossed out live plants. If people did not do this, Health Canada would be turning names and addresses of defiant ones over to the police.

Really!!??  Does anyone in Ottawa think the RCMP and city cops all across Canada are going to launch massive raids on people with terminal cancer, using grass to have at least some quality of life as their lives dwindle?  Did anyone notice police forces across the country have been publicly stating they would put virtually zero resources into tracking down personal pot or medical marijuana users?

What about the compassion clubs that have cropped up all across Canada offering various medical cannabis preparations for everything from cancer to intractable arthritis? Lots of these operated on a non-profit basis, making these preparations modestly priced. Most estimates say products from the new mandated and regulated producers will see prices sky rocket.

Lawyers have already been in federal court asking a judge to issue an injunction against the government to stop implementation of these new laws.  Lawyers said the approximately 37,000 people in Canada licensed to possess will be deprived of their right to affordable access to the form and nature of the cannabis products they know work for them.

High-security concrete boxes favoured by the new medical marijuana producers have been cropping up in cities across Canada, many frowned upon by local governments that can’t decide if they are agricultural or commercial operations, and therefore aren’t clear about proper zoning designations.

I think this is a mess that will blow up on the Conservatives. Many of the people using medical marijuana belong in the demographic that tends to vote Conservative.

The government’s mixed priorities on the pot file are jaw dropping. On one hand, we have the heavy hand of government regulation clamping down on medical marijuana use, with dire threats of turning defiant terminal-cancer patients over to police. On the other hand, the government announces it intends to make simple marijuana possession a ticketing offence.

Duh! …what gives here?  Is it possible the bungling of this file could be the defining issue that convinces enough people that maybe the risk of electing young Justin Trudeau as prime minister is worth the effort?

Patrick Hrushowy is a Cowichan writer and political consultant. Email him at phrushowy@shaw.ca

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