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Canada To Relax Rules on Medicinal Marijuana Use

Discussion in 'International Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Apr 7, 2001.

  1. Reuters
    Source: CNN

    Canada, often more liberal than the United States in its attitude toward drugs, laid out proposed regulations Friday to make it easier to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes.
    The government is expected allow marijuana to be used by those suffering from terminal illnesses and chronic conditions such as severe arthritis, cancer, AIDS or HIV, or multiple sclerosis.

    "Canada is acting compassionately by allowing people who are suffering from grave and debilitating illnesses to have access to marijuana for medical purposes," Health Minister Allan Rock said in a statement.

    "Today's announcement is the next important step in our groundbreaking effort in this area," he stated. "It will bring greater clarity to the process for Canadians who require the use of this drug to alleviate symptoms."

    Rock first allowed Canadians to apply for medical use of marijuana in May 1999, and 210 people have received exemptions from the law that normally bans its possession and use.

    But Ontario's highest court ruled last July -- in a case involving a man with epilepsy who claimed the right to grow and use marijuana for medicinal purposes -- that the federal government should make the process more transparent, particularly in defining who can apply.

    The government intends the new rules to apply by the court's deadline of July 31, possibly with revisions, after consultations over the next few months.

    Ottawa also insists it is not taking the first steps toward full legalization of marijuana.

    The U.S. Justice Department questions marijuana's medical usefulness and maintains that it must remain banned.

    Under Canada's new rules, people would still have to apply for exemptions from the general ban, but the regulations would eliminate the current standardized limits on how much marijuana someone using it for medical purposes can possess.

    This would be replaced with individual recommendations by a physician -- in effect, a prescription for marijuana that the government would approve.

    "They can also name a provider to grow the marijuana for them, so that if they're terminally ill and don't want to be growing marijuana themselves, there's a licit way for them to have someone to get the seeds and grow it and provide it to them," Rock spokeswoman Catherine Lappe told Reuters.

    Renewals of an exemption would be granted on an annual basis instead of the current six months.

    The regulations would also seek to set some safeguards, establishing the maximum number of plants depending on the daily dosage, and allowing for site inspections and criminal record checks.

    Source: CNN (US Web)
    Published: April 6, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Cable News Network, Inc.
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