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Ottawa OKs Medical Pot Distribution Plan.

By admin | July 23, 2004

Thu, 10 Jul 2003
by CBC News Online staff

Ottawa has approved an interim plan to provide dried marijuana or seeds to Canadians authorized to take the drug for medical purposes.

Health Canada spokesperson Cindy Cripps-Prawak made the announcement Wednesday in Ottawa. It’s the federal government’s response to a ruling by a court in Ontario.

In January, Ontario’s Superior Court said Ottawa’s access regulations to medical marijuana were unconstitutional because they don’t provide a distribution method for the drug. It gave Ottawa six months to come up with a new policy.

The federal government is appealing the Ontario decision. The appeal will be heard at the end of July 2003, said Cripps-Prawak.

The dried marijuana will cost $5 for a gram, at least half the price it sells for on the street. It will be provided on a two-week or monthly basis to authorized patients who are too ill to grow it themselves.

A bag of 30 marijuana seeds will cost $20 for people licensed to cultivate the drug for medical purposes.

Wednesday’s announcement is an interim policy pending Ottawa’s appeal, she stressed.

Federal Health Minister Anne McLellan says the government is not convinced of the medicinal benefits of marijuana. That’s why Health Canada is supporting clinical trials, set to begin in the fall, she said.

Government-grown pot will have a THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration of 10 per cent, said Cripps-Prawak. Health Canada also recommends users not smoke the marijuana, but instead consume it in a tea or in food.

Medical marijuana users weren’t impressed by the announcement.

Medical marijuana user Alison Myrden say under the new policy, she will spend $450 per week on pot to help her deal with symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS), while her disability is $500 per month.

Steve Bacon, a medical marijuana user, calls the move “cruel.”

“I want a prescription and I want to go down to the damned pharmacy and fill the thing. I don’t want to have to deal with Health Canada and regulations and applications,” said Bacon.

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