Pubdate: Sun, 27 Mar 2011
Source: Kelowna Capital News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011, West Partners Publishing Ltd.
Author: Scott McCluskey


To the editor:

I am writing to you in opposition to the proposed bylaw that would
eliminate medical marijuana gardens within the municipality of Kelowna.

I am a disabled person and have had both a license to possess cannabis
and produce it for medical purposes for the last seven years. To
impose such a bylaw would immediately eliminate access to federal
government sanctioned medication and impose an immense hardship and
suffering on sick and dying Canadians.

This not only would be grossly unfair but we are sure that several
hundred persons with Health Canada medical marijuana exemptions in
Kelowna would be without their much needed medications.

This would immediately result in massive law suits against the city
and others involved in such actions. We are positive that the courts
will rule that these bylaws are unconstitutional and invalid,
resulting in huge costs incurred by the City of Kelowna.

We medical exemption holders have gone to great lengths to insure we
are operating legally to obtain our physician-prescribed medication,
and to add such a ridiculous bylaw would only add insult to injury

We respectfully ask that you immediately reconsider your current 
course of action and not be persuaded by law enforcement and fire 
departments that our gardens create any more risk than someone 
growing legal tomatoes or cucumbers personally or commercially 
indoors. Most, if not all medical marijuana gardens that I have seen 
have been wired properly to code and vented properly to insure 
against mold and other contaminants. These gardens pose no greater 
fire risk than the tomato or cucumber commercial gardens seen all 
over the Lower Mainland.

Additionally we also have had to go through a rigorous process and 
expense to adopt security measures that meet Health Canada's 
standards to be even issued a license to produce our medicine in the 
first place. Surely if the federal government and the Supreme Court 
of Canada have sanctioned our actions to produce our own medicine 
legally, then a city council should respect and abide by these same 
laws and not impose undue and unconstitutional measures upon the sick 
and dying taxpayers who have opted to use cannabis as medicine.

We look forward to your response to this most urgent matter at your 
earliest convenience.

Frequently we see media reports with the RCMP and city police forces 
stating they have "no access" to information about what an illegal 
grow-op is vs. a legal medical marijuana garden.

The facts are as follows: Health Canada maintains a 24-hour hotline 
phone number open to law enforcement so that they can call and verify 
if the suspected address they are attending is a legal medical garden 
or not. This was told to me by the former head of the Marihuana 
Medical Access Division, Mr. Ronald Denault, who stated that he 
carries a pager that will let him have direct contact, 24 hours a 
day, to police that need this information.

In fact, my lawyer says that there is a protocol within the RCMP to 
call Health Canada before getting any warrant prior to attending a 
suspected illegal grow-op. For some reason the RCMP fail to do this 
and then blame it on Health Canada.

On Feb. 17, a Health Canada spokesman cited recent amendments to the 
Marijuana Medical Access Regulations, which allows police limited 
access to information. "Amending the regulations will enable Canadian 
law enforcement to access limited information to prevent unnecessary 
law enforcement action," the spokesman relayed in an email. 
"Information will be provided only in the context of a law 
enforcement activity, for example, if you are stopped in your car and 
marijuana is found in your possession or if the police visit your 
home in connection with a break and enter and discover marijuana."

Scott McCluskey

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