The other day I wrote a post suggesting that policy formulation in the Harper government is conducted not in the measured and studied way most governments employ, but rather more than anything else from a knee-jerk ideological orientation. This is apparent most recently in Health Canada's decision to license private farms to grow medical marijuana, thereby ending the legal right of current licensed users to grow and buy their own. It turns out that the cost of purchasing the product from these private farms, beginning in March of next year, will be more than many can afford.
A discerning reader, Glenda Allard Barr, from Lantzville, B.C., writes the following in this morning's Star:
New pot rules sting ailing users, Column, Feb. 1
Thank you for printing this outstanding glimpse into the world of ailing Canadians who are terrified that they will lose the quality of life they have gained by having access to an extremely effective plant medicine. Serious health problems often result in an inability to earn a good living, and the new medical cannabis program proposed by Health Canada would serve to line the pockets of business people while depriving the sick of their medicine.
Anyone with a heart should be able to see the difficulties faced by these patients, and the benefits they gain from using a plant that is safer than most, if not all, pharmaceuticals. The ability to grow one's own medicine or to find a compassionate person to grow for them can be a life saver for some seriously ill individuals.
The black market also stands to gain from this proposal as purchasing cannabis from commercial sources is beyond the financial reach of patients, and will introduce new problems, such as having to wait for an order, delivery problems, specific strain availability, possible chemical contamination and irradiation. Some patients may turn to crime to fund their medicine.
Health Canada needs to fulfill its mandate to protect the health of Canadians. It is time to trash this preposterous proposal, take another look at past commissions studying cannabis use, and approach the issue in an enlightened and compassionate manner. In my mind, that solution is legalizing and regulating this useful plant.