Medical marijuana users protest in Winnipeg

People of Winnipeg, users of medical marijuana, have been protesting against the proposed legislation on Thursday, Feb. 21. They are concerned about proposed changes that will affect the way they access medical marijuana needed for their treatments. Health Canada, which released the proposal, says that medical marijuana has to be treated like a medicine, making it forbidden to grow at home. The aim and purpose of this proposal is to build more effective commercialization and distribution of the drug. According to Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq, new regulations would help government control illegal activity. She also stated that “Current medical marijuana regulations have left the system open to abuse”. The legislation was proposed in December last year.

Protestors don’t share the Government’s opinion

People who use medical marijuana fear that prices will sky-rocket if this legislation is accepted. Some of them even went so far to say that this regulation is like criminalizing marijuana use all over again. Even though there are reasonable arguments coming from the Government side that explain how the legislation will help minimize the abuse of the current system, the protestors fear of the worst case scenario in which the medication becomes more expensive to be obtained legally which will force them to turn to the black market in order to purchase their medicine.

Is there an alternative?

The existing law that allows patients with special licences to grow their own medical cannabis is now on trial. With this new legislation, people who have invested thousands of dollars in systems where they can produce their own medical cannabis are facing difficult issues that none of them expected to see. Not only have they spent so much on a system they believed will benefit them but will most probably have to spend more – which is something none of them imagined will happen. Let’s not forget that they made the investment because the Law said it is allowed. The protesters ask for an alternative solution.

An inspection program could help

Since the Government representatives claim they are worried about the public safety, the public on the other hand is worried that it is being played off by the Government. Naturally, there are some folks who started growing their own medical marijuana but without sufficient knowledge of the matter, thus posing a risk or being infested with mould. The alternative solution that the protesters who run safe operations suggest is rather simple – start an inspection program instead of preventing patients from growing their medicine.

Patients before profit

It is no wonder that patients who depend on medical marijuana for their treatments fear that with this commercialization of the drug they will become the victims. If the worst case scenario happens, we all know what that means – patients, in search of a cheaper solution, will turn to drug dealers and criminals to buy the drug. The situation is tricky and it does not sound too positive for medical marijuana patients. The proposed regulations are expected to come into force in the spring time – who exactly will benefit from these remains to be seen.

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  1. While I understand that many worry about the prices, which will be set by commercial licensed producers, as you mentioned there are benefits to the new MMRP program in Canada. Quality control, safety, etc. will improve. The licensing rules are stringent. I found this comprehensive breakdown of Canada medical marijuana licensing requirements. Check it out. I think some may be surprised at the lengths proposed growers have to go to, to receive a license.

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