Pubdate: Sat, 15 May 2010
Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010, BC Newspaper Group
Author: Russell Barth


To the Editor,

Re: Bunk pot rules raise problems, Opinion, May 13.

There is much about this program that the government doesn't talk
about, and it has been an ongoing fiasco for almost a decade.

Here are some things that Canadians need to know about the medical marijuana
fiasco at Health Canada:

- - The prohibition of marijuana died in the courts in 1997 and '99. The
medical program was put in place to prop up the dead law in a Weekend
At Bernie's kind of way - to convince the public that pot was still
illegal even though the law was just struck down.

- - The program itself has been ruled unconstitutional by at least four
court rulings.

- - The program was put in place to prop up a prohibition that was ruled
unconstitutional. Since the prohibition on marijuana is
unconstitutional, and the program that props it up is
unconstitutional, that (technically) makes pot legal for anyone who
uses it for medical purposes - even without a licence. The problem is,
our systematically corrupt judiciary and government flatly ignore
these previous rulings, and have been prosecuting and convicting
people for almost a decade with a dead law.

- - The program is so scandalously understaffed that there is a 24-week
wait for applications to be processed (whereas it only takes a few
weeks to get a gun). Simple renewals take 16 weeks.

- - The rules on plant and storage limits are arbitrary and do not
reflect the realities of pot cultivation, making them difficult - and
sometimes impossible - to comply with.

- - Police often ignore the fact someone has a permit to grow and tear
out the plants and damage equipment regardless of the legality. People
have spent days in jail with no medicine for the simple crime of
having a legal pot grow.

- - Though more doctors are signing, many refuse to sign - not because
of marijuana, but because of the onerous, dysfunctional and
unconstitutional nature of the Health Canada program.

- - Ninety per cent of the applications and renewals that Health Canada
receives are not filled out correctly.

- - The pot grown by the government is weak, ground up, is full of stem,
seed, leaf, and chemicals. It doesn't even look like pot, it looks
like the stuff you sprinkle on the floor to soak up vomit. It is also
$5 per gram, which is an outrage because it is sub-standard, and it
has already been paid for by taxpayers.

- - The federal regulations 'allow' the permit holder to possess and use
marijuana, but provincial laws forbid the simple possession of
cannabis in a variety of locations, like buses, cars, restaurants,
bars, and just about everywhere else, which places the permit holders
in a legal conundrum.

- - If a grower loses a crop to bugs or fungus, which can happen even in
the cleanest facilities, patients can be left with little to no
medicine for months at a time. If they try to buy the government pot
as a "back up" until their own garden produces something useful, they
must relinquish their grow permits. There is no back up, there is no
middle ground, and this can leave patients with no legal way to obtain
medicine for months at a stretch.

It should also be noted that since the regulations were never enacted
as law, technically participants in the program are under no legal
obligation to adhere to them, nor do the police or government have any
real legal jurisdiction to enforce them.

We are all living in a grey area where marijuana is not yet legal, but
no longer illegal. All over a plant that recent science shows may cure

Russell Barth

Nepean, Ont.
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