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Jason Wilcox Takes on Parliamentary Secretary Paul Calandra

Under Canada’s federal laws marijuana, cannabis dispensaries are illegal. Parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, Paul Calandra, appeared on Global TV’s “Unfiltered” this past week to discuss how dispensaries can continue to operate despite the laws that are in place. (I appeared on the segment previously, which may be seen here.) Obviously, as an activist and advocate, I needed to address and challenge some of his statements.

Calandra claims growing would be taken out of neighbourhoods and the government would have better control over it (the gardens and supply). We know and have long argued that more government control is counter to the progress and sustainability of free and fair gardens.

The Secretary also claims a grow near a school is not legal (which is not accurate). Under the repealed MMAR an outdoor grow could not have a garden within 500 yards of a school. The problem is the federal government went about repealing that legislation on April 1st 2014, as the Secretary noted. Under federal injunction one only need follow three regulations: plant count, storage amount, and 150 gram restrictive public carry limit.

Calandra goes on to say that Canada will go to trial and “defend the regulation changes.” This is a reference to the MMPR being under Constitutional scrutiny and the federal court restraining order known as an injunction. The claims of public safety are unfounded, as now four federal judges have pointed out by introducing the injunction and upholding it in appeals court. I agree it is time to put all this to trial and indeed Canada is the defendant and should be ashamed of the expense in fighting patients and their access to medicine via flawed and constitutionally challenged legislation.

Federal government opposed to legalisation

The Conservative backbencher also targets home cultivation and states how this person and that person do not want it, as if the public knows all home gardens. Additionally, the suggestion that all gardens “smell” is false as demonstrated by numerous studies and on gardens in Canada. Indeed, if a garden is not set up correct it will smell, regardless of whether or not the plant is cannabis, and furthers the argument for education for growers, not prohibition.

Calandra continues talking about zoning “marihunaua facilities” such as the MMPR and subsidiaries and he remains steadfast in support of the government’s legislation even after a federal judge has “restrained” the removal of gardens via federal injunction with an additional three federal judges “upholding” the injunction. It should also be noted that of the 40,000 growers with federal permits, 36,000 of them chose to grow or have a caregiver do it for them. And there is no evidence to support threat of “public safety”, and the Secretary should be ashamed for using that as an argument that those 36,000 patients don’t have a right to liberty or a right to autonomy. As demonstrated already the gardens pose no threat to the patient or the public and yet the government is still proceeding with the farce of a trial. I do not know much about politics, but it is obvious that this government knows nothing about medicinal cannabis or its culture.

The Secretary believes that the MMPR provides “reasonable access to cannabis” when only 10,000 are accessing the program. Health Canada estimates 1 million cannabis users in Canada yet less than 1% are gaining what the Secretary calls “reasonable access”.

The real blame needs to be directed towards the 13-year old Division of Health Canada now as the Medical Marihuana Access Division (MMAD) and governing Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR). The government has allowed this policy to exist yet there is still no proof of “fire”, “mould”, or organized crime stands as a threat to the public. This is simply a cruel act of denying patients what they need to live a better quality of life.

This is the sort of ongoing discrimination and stigmatization we simply do not need in Canada. Thank God we have Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada to stop this government from infringing upon that which we all hold dear to our hearts, which is our liberty.

Onward we grow…

~ Jason Wilcox

Article source Cannabis in Canada

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