Libby calls for an end to long wait times for medical marijuana patients

Question Period
House of Commons
October 19, 2010

Libby Davies (MP Vancouver East):Mr. Speaker,

Chronically ill Canadians are waiting months to get and renew permits for access to medical marijuana. Patients are being cut off from their legally prescribed medication because of an under-resourced overly bureaucratic application process.

Mr. Speaker, people don’t want to break the law to access and use their legally prescribed drugs.

Will the Minister stop treating patients like criminals and commit the necessary resources to end these dangerously long processing times?

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health, CPC) :

Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the backlog and are putting additional resources toward addressing it.

My department has installed procedures that will improve the efficiency of the review and authorization process and to respond in a timely manner.

Reform of this program will balance public safety and access to patient needs.

This Question Period Transcript was posted on October 19, 2010
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11 Comments

Medical Marijuana

Thank you Libby for speaking out on our behalf. I would like to suggest that the Mandatory Annual renewal be removed for long term incurable diseases(ie Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn's). this would help alleviate the Backlog of Paperwork in the Office, making it more efficient.... oops I guess that word is not in Mr. Harpers vocabulary.

Thank you

James Kerr

Meaford Ont.

Medical Marijuana Cards

Thanks Libby for addressing this problem. I have been made to feel like a criminal and take caution to conceal my medicinal use. I want to come out of the closet like so many others. With a card at least I don't have to worry about my nasty neighbor busting me for using in my own backyard. I hope Health Canada really get it together and help us out soon! We patients shouldn't have to be last to be addressed humanely.

Medical Marijuana Cards

Hi Libby,
I feel exactly like this anonymous poster. I suffer from Crohns disease and I am on many different medications to help me. The one thing that helps me without horrible adverse side effects (like those from Prednizone that I take) is Marijuana.
I'm reluctant to get the card for many reasons. To keep this short I'll post 2 here.
#1 on the top of the list is that I dont trust the Government to not come after me. I have heard a few stories from people saying that the cops took all of their equipment to grow their own marijuana due to their card expiring. Cops aren't able to tell if the card is just expired or if it has been revoked for other reasons. Nor do they seem to care, they have a job to do. I am just a middle class guy, working hard and barely scraping by as it is. I cant afford this kind of trouble.
#2 is that my Doctors are not in agreement with me over this, even though I've been using it to help me for the last 10 years. I have looked into other doctors and organizations to get the papers signed, and they're looking for hundreds of dollars for the medical card and thousands of dollars to sign the sheets to grow for myself.
I would just like to say that I hate that the government makes me into a criminal for using something that makes my quality of life so much better. If the Conservatives pass Bill S-10 there is a good chance that you'll eventually find me in one of those nice new cells that they are trying to invest in, due to the Mandatory sentencing that is on the Bill.
Until that day I will continue to get Marijuana from illegal dealers, and use it responsibly.
If I do end up in jail, or with a criminal record, you'll be able to hear about me when I get out and cant find a job, growing a huge crop in the middle of no where. The conservatives are making career criminals out of honest hard working people.
Thank you for your understanding Libby and for helping us with our struggle. I have written many MP's, Newspapers, forums, etc. about this problem. I dont know what else I can do.

JC

More on the Health Canada Delays

Health Canada's Compassionate Souls
Jun 05, 2010
http://www.torontohemp.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3991

Answers(?) from Health Canada
June 25, 2010
http://myhemp.blogspot.com/

MMAR wait times
July 7, 2010
http://forums.cannabisculture.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Num...

Medical marijuana users caught up in renewal delay
July 9, 2010
http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/article/834326--medical-mar...

The Third Flaw
July 9, 2010.
http://theforestoffreedom.blogspot.com/

Winning the Right to Grow Med Marijuana
July 18, 2010
http://www.mernagh.ca/health-canada-med-marijuana/

Pot | Hainesville man had prescription but no licence
July 27th, 2010
http://dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/cityregion/article/1150962

Re: Organized crime law changes unveiled
Aug 5, 2010
http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/MedPot-discuss/message/18747

It took Health Canada long enough
Aug 11, 2010
http://www.420magazine.com/forums/medical-marijuana-lounge/125826-took-h...

Health Canada Troubles!!!!!
13th August 2010
http://www.treatingyourself.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=43502

Medical pot user frustrated by federal delays
September 26, 2010
http://news.guelphmercury.com/News/article/693907

Cannabis-permit system doesn’t work well
September 28, 2010
http://news.guelphmercury.com/article/694378

Errors, delays irritate licensed pot user
Wed, Sep 29
http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/1204250.html

Man challenging marijuana possession laws pleads guilty to marijuana production
Sept 29, 2010.
http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2776951

Legal ganja grow ops in the GTA? Who knew?
October 3, 2010
http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/2010/04/23/13701921.html#/c...

Feds slow to process medical marijuana licences
October 3, 2010
http://www.lfpress.com/news/canada/2010/10/03/15564036.html

West Kelowna man struggles to get medical marijuana license
October 6, 2010
http://www.globaltvbc.com/West+Kelowna+struggles+medical+marijuana+licen...

MS sufferer charged with possession has court date pushed back
Oct 13, 2010.
http://www.mindentimes.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2796712

Thanks for speaking up Libby!

Thanks for speaking up Libby! I'm a fellow New Democrat who's been waiting six months and counting for my license exemption to be approved.
I applaud your use of the term 'patient' - it is appropriate in this context. In the same vein may I encourage you to consider using the term 'medicinal cannabis'? Marihuana (as Health Canada spells it) or marijuana (in Spanish) like 'user', hearkens back to 'Reefer Madness' days and that bygone mythology continues to dog the issue.
Again, thank you so much for speaking out on behalf of the thousands of Canadians who are suffering and waiting; many are too ill to be active and afraid that speaking up will result in Health Canada effectively 'blackballing' their application. We are grateful for a champion like you - keep up the good work!

Thanks You!

Thanks for speaking up for us. I have had a Health Canada exemption for Cannabis for a few years now. It is a frustrating and cumbersome process. Wait times are long and twice now my renewal has been late, putting me in legal jeopardy. It should be a permanent license for a permanent condition. Since they tell me my MS is permanent why shouldn't my license be?
Thanks for being a politician of honour and doing a great job.
Take Care
Bruce
NS

The MMAR Program is a cruel joke.

I'm a Medical Marijuana patient who has had trouble every step of the way in trying to obtain relief from Chronic Pain. I'm one of the lucky ones, as my illness is not terminal.

To be forced to wait for months on end for my Government to acknowledge the professional opinion of my Physician detracts from my quality-of-life in a whole new way.

I wish to function, not be made a 'zombie' by painkillers. My efforts to become a productive member of our society are thwarted annually by the MMAD office when my card expires, rendering me illegal, and forcing me back onto pills.

Inaccurate time estimates, second-guessing of our Physicians, impersonal service, and increased stress, are some of the realities we are forced to accept with this program. They are 'aware' of the problem, and have been for years. I'm aware of the problem too, but can't do much when I'm nearly bedridden.

This is a cruel joke. It desperately needs to be changed. Thank you for helping.

please HELP us Libby!

I agree with your comment. Libby please help us! our freedom is @ stake. my "Authorization To Possess" (medical marijuana) License expired a few days ago :( Health Canada continues to delay by underfunding the program. it's plain to see! they have no compassion! 8-10+ weeks to process applications is too long. my dear friend has wait 8 months!

i don't plan to travel for Christmas if i don't receive my 8th renewal ATP license... i just don't feel safe any longer. i sure hope Bill S-10 fails! this has cause mde great stress. I am not a criminal! please HELP us Libby!