Pubdate: Mon, 13 May 2002
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2002 The Gazette, a division of Southam Inc.
Page: B2
Author: Lyle Howard Seave


The latest excuse from our bumbling bureaucrats concerning the inadequate 
seeds the government has used in its medicinal-marijuana program (Gazette, 
May 8, "Feds' pot is below par") is just one more to add to the long list 
of what appear to be stalling tactics by a government that is still 
seething that the courts forced it to create a medical-marijuana program 
against its wishes. (Although it's not as if there is no precedent for such 
a move: the medicare system in the Netherlands now includes a 
medical-marijuana program.)

Asking the Taliban-like drug-war zealots of the American Drug Enforcement 
Agency for marijuana seeds is akin to asking Dracula to part with some 
blood; everybody knew the answer would be "no" beforehand. The government 
likely knew as well but thought it would provide a wonderful excuse.

Hemp-Quebec Seeds and Marc Emery Seeds are just two of the legitimate 
tax-paying Canadian seed companies that carry about 500 different 
high-quality seeds from all over the world. Yet the government refused even 
to consider involving them in its growing operation.

Canada could have also approached countries like Britain, Italy and Spain, 
where universities and pharmaceutical companies are carrying out extensive 
marijuana research. The most obvious source would have been Holland, which 
has leading expertise in marijuana genetics and hundreds of seed banks. 
Instead, the government asked the rabid U.S. anti-drug agency.

When that failed, it came up with the brilliant plan to use unknown strains 
of seeds that had been confiscated by police, which is equivalent to 
putting your hand in the cabinet with your eyes closed. Many people warned 
of the problems this would cause, as there are over 1,000 different 
marijuana strains.

We have also learned that the most important prerequisite to be allowed to 
grow marijuana for the government was to have no prior experience in 
growing marijuana. Many will see this as an obvious metaphor: the way to 
get a government contract is to be totally unqualified.

Either this whole seed debacle is the result of incompetence of a level 
rarely seen before, or our government has played the country beautifully. 
Either way, Canadians, or at least the 90-per-cent majority that supports 
medical marijuana, should be outraged.

Lyle Howard Seave
Saint-Felicien, QC
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