Medical pot users Against MMPR in Ottawa

Medical pot users protest new federal rules

Medical pot users protest new federal rules-Image1

The Canadian Press, 2014

Cannabis activist Alison Myrden uses a marijuana vaporizer as she takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 to protest the government’s new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. Myrden suffers from chronic progressive multiple sclerosis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – The Conservative government is forcing users of medical marijuana to choose between treating their symptoms or holding on to their freedoms under the Charter of Rights, a gathering of pot-smoking protesters complained Tuesday.

Several dozen demonstrators, some of them puffing on joints and vaporizers, gathered on Parliament Hill to protest the government’s new medical-marijuana regulations on the very day they went into effect.

Among other things, the new rules require marijuana users to get their supply of the drug from commercial growers and prohibits them from growing their own, or growing it on behalf of other licensed users.

The regulations also impose limits on the amount of cannabis that licensed users can have in their possession.

Lawyer John Conroy won a Federal Court injunction last month that allows users to continue growing their own pot until a wider constitutional challenge of the regulations is heard — a ruling Health Canada says it plans to appeal.

But the courts have already determined that medically approved patients can use marijuana to relieve pain symptoms, said Conroy.

And as the case winds its way through the courts, proponents of the medicinal value of cannabis products are speaking out against the regulations.

“What Health Canada have done is forced patients to worry about our basic health maintenance versus our liberty,” said Debbie Stultz Giffin, a medical-marijuana user diagnosed with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis.

“It’s unconscionable.”

Alison Myrden, who also lives with the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis, said she relies on medical pot every single day. The new regulations would mean a substantial increase in the cost of the drug, and potentially create supply problems as well, she said.

Ottawa is trying to take away the “God-given right” to grow cannabis to relieve pain symptoms, Myrden said.

It is unclear when the federal appeal of the injunction will be heard.

If the government ultimately fails to overturn the Federal Court decision, it will leave the path clear for the constitutional challenge. As a result, the matter could be tied up in the courts for many months to come.

The number of people authorized to possess — and frequently grow — marijuana under the old federal program climbed to 37,000 this year from fewer than 100 in 2001.

Several patients permitted to cultivate their own pot, or serve as a designated grower for someone else, say the planned new system denies ill Canadians a safe, affordable supply of medical marijuana.

Some say they can grow at home for pennies a gram, while official suppliers licensed by Health Canada charge anywhere from a discounted price of $3 a gram to as much as $13.50.

“It would cost me $60,000 (annually) to purchase cannabis through one of the licensed producers,” said Stultz Giffin, a founder of a group of pot activists known as Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana.

“And I live on under $30,000 a year.”

By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

Article source TheRecord.com

Medical marijuana users take fight to grow pot to Parliament Hill

Protest comes after Ottawa said it would challenge injunction letting medical users keep growing pot

The Canadian Press Posted: Apr 01, 2014 1:41 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 01, 2014 7:48 PM ET

Cannabis activists held a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 1, 2014 to protest the government's marijuana for medical purposes regulations.Cannabis activists held a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on April 1, 2014 to protest the government’s marijuana for medical purposes regulations. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

MPs talk medical marijuana
MPs talk medical marijuana 10:02

Medical marijuana users say Ottawa is trying to take away their “God-given right” to grow cannabis to relieve pain symptoms.

Groups opposed to the federal government’s new medical-marijuana regulations, which go into effect today, are protesting on Parliament Hill.

The demonstration comes one day after Ottawa said it would challenge a Federal Court injunction that allows medical users to continue growing their own pot pending a constitutional challenge of the new rules.

The new regulations require marijuana users to receive their supply from commercial growers, and also limit the amount that individuals are allowed to possess.

Critics say the new rules will simply make it harder for them to access a drug many of them insist they can’t live without.

Alison Myrden, who suffers from chronic progressive multiple sclerosis, says she relies on medical pot every single day. Myrden says the new regulations would mean a substantial increase in the cost of the drug, and potentially create supply problems as well.

Unclear when appeal of injunction will be heard

It is unclear when the federal appeal of the injunction will be heard.

If the government ultimately fails to overturn the Federal Court decision, it will leave the path clear for the constitutional challenge. As a result, the matter could be tied up in the courts for many months to come.

The number of people authorized to possess — and frequently grow — marijuana under the old federal program climbed to 37,000 this year from fewer than 100 in 2001.

Several patients permitted to cultivate their own pot, or serve as a designated grower for someone else, say the planned new system denies ill Canadians a safe, affordable supply of medical marijuana.

Some say they can grow at home for pennies a gram, while official suppliers licensed by Health Canada charge anywhere from a discounted price of $3 a gram to as much as $13.50.

Medical marijuana in Canada

Article source CBC.ca