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McLellan confesses: “Our pot’s a bust”

By Hempology | May 8, 2002


Wednesday, May 8th, 2002

OTTAWA – Ooops! The official supply of federal pot is bad

So impure, in fact, that the first crop contains 185 different
varieties of pot. Hardly the stuff a health minister would want to
provide to a seriously ill patient to relieve their symptoms.

Health Minister Anne McLellan revealed the “problem” Tuesday, saying
it’s responsible for the delay – which could last several more months – for
getting the department’s much-hearlded plan off the ground to provide
marijuana to Canadians who need it for medicinal purposes.

She said the unreliable pot stems from the seeds that were used. Initially,
the federal government had hoped to obtain a standardized seed from the U.S.
government, but the American Drug Enforcement Agency refused to share the

That meant our officially sanctioned grower, who harvested the pot at an
underground mine in Flin Flon, Man., was left using seeds obtained by police,
who confiscated it during their law enforcement work.

Not surprisingly, then, the first crop of nearly 2,000 plants – completed
in the fall and supposed to be distributed to be distributed early this
year – contained a rainbow of varying potencies and purities.

The government is now having its pot tested to find the best strain so
that a “quality, standardized” seed can be used for the second crop
of plants, said McLellan. Until then, sick Canadians who were approved
to smoke the stuff and were counting on the official federal pot as
their supply will have to wait.

“It is a problem,” McLellan told reporters about the delay.
“I’m not here to pretend.”

But she said the government has an obligation to ensure that the marijuana
it provides people is of a consistent quality – in part because the pot
would be given out as part of clinical trials to determine whether the
claims are true about the medicinal benefits. Without a standardized crop,
she said, researches monitoring the sick patients would have no way of
knowing whether the marijuana is having the desired effects.

She urged people to remember that Canada is the first country in the
world to launch a program, based on compassionate grounds, to test the
merits of medicinal marijuana.

“So in fact, trial and error is going to be a part of this. I think
people have to be patient.”

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