WHAT ARE THEY REALLY ABOUT?
On March 13, 2014 the current medical marijuana laws in Canada will end and an entirely new system of laws concerning medical marijuana will take effect. The current laws allow those registered as medical marijuana patients to grow their own marijuana or to buy government produced marijuana from authorized pharmacies. Under the new laws that go into effect in a few months, medical marijuana patients will no longer be permitted to grow their own marijuana and the government will no longer produce marijuana, nor will pharmacists be involved in the sale of medical marijuana to patients.
The legal reasons stated for this drastic change in the medical marijuana laws in Canada are listed as public health, safety and security issues. Despite reading many articles and trying to discover these alleged public health, safety and security issues, one is hard pressed to find a single article describing exactly what those issues are. There were a few (very few) growers who had fires break out. Those were all related to poor wiring. Electrical issues are easy to cure and simple compliance inspections of grow operations would remove that issue from the table. As for public health and security, there was nothing describing exactly what they are, just the generic legal umbrella under which the politicians are able to enact new and stricter laws. So why the need to fix that which is not broken?
There are currently 37,359 registered medical marijuana patients in Canada. That number is much higher than the 477 registered medical marijuana patients in 2002 evidencing the need for medical marijuana. Of those 37,359 registered medical marijuana patients, 25,600 are licensed to grow their own medical marijuana. Of those 25,600 licensed to grow their own medical marijuana, only 4,200 are specifically licensed to grow for one (and only one) other registered patient besides themselves. All of these rights will be stripped away from Canadian medical marijuana patients as of March 13, 2014.
Under the new laws there are currently 156 applications awaiting approval to grow medical marijuana on a much larger scale in huge warehouses. These warehouses will be owned and operated by those entrepreneurs with enough money to buy the licenses, the warehouses, the property on which the warehouses sit, the massive costs of filling that space with the maximum lighting possible and to employ a staff large enough to grow, trim and prepare the medical marijuana for public sale and to distribute it. With private sector businesses, profits tend to be the overriding priority rather than producing a high quality product that is organic and safe.
Under the new laws patients will be permitted to purchase medical marijuana from these massive warehouse farms. All sales will be through a mail order system and thoroughly regulated. The regulations only apply to the amount of marijuana sold and the income the entrepreneurs take in. These strict regulations will not cover the quality of medical marijuana grown nor the non-organic fertilizers and pesticides used to grow the marijuana to produce ever larger and more profitable plants. This puts unsuspecting (and already burdened with health issues) patients at further risk of ingesting marijuana and medical marijuana products that essentially contain poisons detrimental to their already deteriorating health.
Health Canada's current average price of medical marijuana is approximately $5 per gram. The projected cost of private sector medical marijuana after the new laws take effect in March is expected to be about $7.60 per gram. CannaMed, the first licensed distributor in the private sector is currently advertising their medical marijuana at a cost of $9 to $12 per gram once the new laws go into effect. Keep in mind that the current black market cost of marijuana in Canada is approximately $10 to $15 per gram. No matter how one tries to make sense of these new laws, they fail to address any alleged public health, safety or security issues. They also have the added disadvantage of driving up the cost of medical marijuana for patients. These patients are often already financially strapped due to their varying medical issues.
So why the sudden change in medical marijuana laws that seemed to be working so well according to the patients who are the intended beneficiaries of these medical marijuana laws? It is simply a desire for profits. Health Canada has projected that by 2014 there will be 58,000 registered medical marijuana patients. They further project that by 2024 there will be 450,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Canada. Health Canada has estimated that by 2024 the medical marijuana industry will be a 1.3 billion dollar per year market. That 1.3 billion dollar per year market will all be taxed at a higher rate, a luxury tax, and not as a medical necessity.
It appears to be obvious that the only reason for the change of the current medical marijuana laws in Canada is related to revenue collection and has little (or nothing) to do with any issues of public health, safety or security. Sadly, this massive change of the current and well functioning medical marijuana laws in Canada is more about a healthy economy than about a healthy population of Canadian citizens.
Georgia: AMEN! *Well said as always! Thank you Lisa! I am the first to admit - I know what I want to say, but often it is difficult - just as cartooning is difficult for many! She once again put it perfectly IMO. Are you paying attention Canadians?