This morning I attended a medical marijuana workshop. I wasn’t sure what to expect especially as it was scheduled from 10:00am to 1:00pm. Three hours seemed a bit long, especially as I thought the very basic questions I wanted to ask could easily be answered. I was in for a surprise as the workshop turned out to be a one on one conversation between me and the facilitator; a very experienced, interesting man who clearly knew his stuff.
In fairness I should clarify that the apparently low attendance was not a poor reflection on the facilitator; if anything it was indicative of poor publicity on the part of the organisers who failed to clarify that their speaker’s presence is a regular event for interested persons and anyone wishing to drop-in or even phone-in.
I’m not complaining; for once I actually didn’t mind the exclusive focus of another person who easily answered all my questions and much more. We had a very stimulating conversation which eventually branched-out beyond the original topic. He reassured me that with my recently acquired doctor’s approval and signature on the requisite form, plus membership in various medical marijuana organisations I am safe from prosecution provided I am not in possession of more than 150 grams of bud and not flagrantly flouting obvious laws, like re-selling my legally purchased pot.
Unfortunately I have missed the boat when it comes to legally growing weed. Thanks to Harper and his machinations, if he succeeds in getting his way (currently being challenged) only big business interests will be granted a licence to grow marijuana and presumably the man on the street caught doing so will suffer the full brunt of Harper’s draconian law which apparently rules more than five plants a felony with mandatory sentencing. Strictly speaking one isn’t even supposed to grow any pot plants although individuals licensed to do so before the recent changes in law are currently allowed to continue following a recent court ruling in Vancouver, BC., challenging the Federal law.
So what exactly is going on in Canada regarding the ‘legalization’ of medical marijuana? One can be forgiven for feeling confused and at the same time one should be cautious about getting high prematurely. The Federal Government’s Canada Health website page still states categorically: ‘Dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada. The Government of Canada does not endorse the use of marijuana, but the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana when authorized by a physician.‘ In reality Harper and his cohorts are still ideologically against marijuana which is deemed on a par with other proscribed drugs such as heroin.
However, times they are a changing. Public opinion cannot be stifled as easily as Harper might wish particularly when our southern neighbours have suddenly pulled in to the fast lane, at least in 12 states, and made headway legalizing pot. It is this momentum towards making marijuana legally accessible by the people that has the political pot stirred and big business interests keen to make sure if anyone is going to make money out of marijuana it will be them. That certainly would explain the very selective granting of licences to big companies some with prominent, politically affiliated figureheads like Mike Harcourt, a former B.C. premier, apparently at the expense of established, previously licensed organisations who were doing a good job meeting the needs of those seeking medical marijuana. Sadly word is these new companies, whose motivation, just like the mega pharmaceutical companies, is profit not the health of patients, are producing inferior marijuana at inflated prices; exactly what one would expect of big business of course!
But there is cause for some optimism especially if the Harper government falls to a newly elected and pro-legalization of pot Liberal Party in the next general election! My man at the marijuana workshop certainly hopes so and says this alone will secure the Liberals his vote. Certainly food for thought!