On Friday, December 14, 2012, the Conservative government released the Medical Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations to replace the current Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.
The Medical Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations may make it easier to access medical marihuana via a prescription from a health care professional, but the medical community, notably doctors, have expressed their concerns about prescribing medical marihuana within the new regulations. These concerns need to be addressed by Health Canada, who should provide them with appropriate resources that demonstrate the applications and effectiveness of medical marihuana as a treatment option for many illnesses. Otherwise, patients may find themselves unable to access medical marihuana.
The NDP has serious concerns about the high cost to patients as a result of the new commercial licensing system. Although the Conservative government says they consulted with patient stakeholders, their own research shows that 64% of medical marihuana users opted to grow their own under the old regulations and yet this will no longer be allowed. Forcing patients to access commercially produced medical marijuana will dramatically drive-up costs, affecting many people who are already on low income and face chronic health issues.
We urge the Conservative government to consider the issues that may result from these new regulations, ensuring that patients have access medical marihuana. These new regulations should be designed to work in cooperation with Compassion Clubs. This would allow Compassion Clubs to continue their community-based approach to supporting people using medical marijuana.
Please note: I will be writing to the government to express my concerns and I would encourage other concerned citizens to do the same. You can write the Medical Marihuana Regulatory Reform division before February 28, 2013. You can find their contact information here: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/consult/consult-eng.html.