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Canada to Sell Marijuana for Medical Use

Discussion in 'International Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. By TOM COHEN, Associated Press Writer

    TORONTO - Canada's government will sell marijuana and seeds to sick people and their suppliers to fulfill a court order for it to provide medical cannabis by Wednesday.

    The announcement of the interim measure satisfies an Ontario court order while the federal government appeals the ruling.

    Under the program announced by Health Minister Anne McLellan, eligible patients can buy just over an ounce of dried marijuana for $112, well below street prices, about once a month. Authorized growers can buy packs of 30 seeds once a year for $15.

    Health Canada spokeswoman Cindy Cripps-Prawak said the government-grown weed has a THC content of 10 percent, compared to between 3 percent and 18 percent in most street marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

    The Ontario court ruling in January gave the government until Wednesday to broaden access to medical marijuana, saying that current laws made "seriously ill, vulnerable people deal with the criminal underworld to get medicine."

    Wednesday's announcement continued Canada's long-running debate on medical marijuana, and came as the government prepares to consider legislation that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot.

    The medical marijuana issue involves people with chronic or catastrophic illness who say they need the soothing effects of THC to ease pain and control nausea and other problems.

    Canada unveiled plans for medical marijuana in 2000 and began growing a supply in an abandoned mine shaft in Manitoba. New regulations took effect July 30, 2001, that expanded the number of Canadians eligible and allowed people to grow their own or designate someone to grow it for them.

    Those regulations also cleared the way for distribution of government-grown pot. Health Canada later announced it needed more tests on the effects of medicinal marijuana and the quality of its pot before making any available.

    That brought last year's court ruling ordering the government to offer a legal supply instead of making patients buy off the street. Eligible patients include those with severe arthritis, cancer, HIV (news - web sites)/AIDS (news - web sites) and multiple sclerosis.

    Medical marijuana users complain the Canadian system has been a bureaucratic maze intended to stifle the issue. While hundreds have received federal exemptions to grow and possess marijuana, others complain about the difficulty of getting doctors to approve requests.

    In the United States, marijuana is illegal under federal law. State laws in California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington allow marijuana to be grown and distributed to people with a doctor's recommendation. The Supreme Court ruled last year that people charged with violating federal drug laws cannot use medical necessity as a defense.
  2. Oh Canada! I just hope the US will learn something from our northern neighbors!

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