Medical Marijuana Users Oppose Home Grow-Op Ruling

Jul 9, 2012

Saskatchewan’s exempted med­ical mar­i­juana users and grow­ers are crit­i­ciz­ing a deci­sion by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to stop indi­vid­u­als from grow­ing the plant. “I will be forced to pur­chase it from the gov­ern­ment and that restricts me because I can­not pro­duce the type that I like and that helps (dull the pain),” said Jason Hiltz, a med­i­c­i­nal mar­i­juana advo­cate in Saska­toon who received an exemp­tion in 2008 to grow the plants and take the drug. Health Canada will no longer allow indi­vid­u­als to grow mar­i­juana for med­ical use by 2014, fed­eral Health Min­is­ter Leona Aglukkaq told CBC News on Fri­day. Aglukkaq was react­ing to a CBC inves­ti­ga­tion this week that Health Canada is ill-equipped to inspect licensed grow­ers. There are also com­plaints from crit­ics who say sanc­tioned grow­ers are abus­ing their per­mits and often grow­ing far more than they need. The indi­vid­ual grow-ops also attract break-ins, crit­ics say. The health min­is­ter said pre­vi­ously Health Canada wants to ten­der licences to pro­duce mar­i­juana in a way the same way as con­ven­tional drugs – by com­pa­nies, under tightly reg­u­lated con­di­tions. There are around 1,200 patients and 200 grow­ers in Saskatchewan, who are lim­ited to pro­vid­ing med­ical mar­i­juana for up to two patients. Shut­ting down licensed med­ical mar­i­juana grow­ers will only push peo­ple to obtain pot ille­gally, said Kay­lynn Colby, 25, a Regina head shop worker who obtained an exemp­tion after a doc­tor pre­scribed med­ical mar­i­juana for pain. “All they’re doing is cre­at­ing demand in the black mar­ket,” Colby said. In her teens, Colby suf­fered a her­ni­ated disc in her back that was never diag­nosed. She suf­fers from severe juve­nile arthri­tis, she said. “All of the other painkillers they were (pre­scrib­ing) were caus­ing a lot more dam­age,” Colby said. “This (grow­ing med­ical mar­i­juana) was def­i­nitely the safer way to go about it. Since then I haven’t taken more pain killers for my con­di­tion.” For Hiltz, two car crashes in 2005 and 2006 left him with a frac­tured ver­te­brae and spinal steno­sis, which com­presses his spinal cord, caus­ing pain and weak­ness in his neck, shoul­der and left arm. An expert hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist, Hiltz says the med­ical mar­i­juana he pro­duces is far bet­ter at dulling the pain than the government’s med­ical mar­i­juana he would be forced to access. Hiltz also says he can grow his own med­ical mar­i­juana for around $140 per month com­pared to $540 for Health Canada’s mail-order pot, which is pro­duced by Saskatchewan-based Prairie Plant Sys­tems Inc. Colby agrees that the med­ical mar­i­juana pro­duced for Health Canada isn’t as effec­tive. “I’ve seen it, I’ve smelt it and I would not want any­thing to do with it,” Colby said. “-I’ve never heard any­body sat­is­fied or happy with it at all. It’s low-grade, poor qual­ity, and it often doesn’t even help the med­ical con­di­tion very much.” She would like to see the gov­ern­ment increase the num­ber of patients licensed grow­ers can pro­vide for. “By allow­ing peo­ple to grow their own med­i­cine, which is some­thing that hasn’t hurt any­one, that would be a lot more ben­e­fi­cial than more rules and more bound­aries and more pun­ish­ment,” Colby said. Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN) Copy­right: 2012 The StarPhoenix Con­tact: http://​www​.canada​.com/​s​a​s​k​a​t​o​o​n​s​t​a​r​p​h​o​e​n​i​x​/​l​e​t​t​e​r​s​.​h​tml Web­site: http://​www​.canada​.com/​s​a​s​k​a​t​o​o​n​s​t​a​r​p​h​o​e​n​ix/ Author: David Hutton

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Med­ical Mar­i­juana Users Oppose Home Grow-Op Ruling

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