Monday, June 10, 2013

And The Screws Tighten Further

As the Conservatives continue on their hardline "tough on crime" nonsense agenda, the next step unrolled in an announcement from Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq revealed new rules for managing medical marijuana:
Under the new regime, the government will no longer produce or distribute medical pot and medical marijuana users will no longer be allowed to grow the product at home. Instead, the government will allow patients to buy prescribed amounts only from licensed growers under strict conditions.
In previous versions of the regulations, pharmacies were to distribute the product just like other medications, provoking the anger of pharmacists who feared being robbed.
But the final version removes the pharmacists from the loop, forcing patients to rely on mail order for their medical marijuana. 
Once again, we see the government stepping in and not just regulating something, but instead putting up obstacles which are detrimental to the good that these programs actually do.
"While the courts have said that there must be reasonable access to a legal source of marijuana for medical purposes, we believe that this must be done in a controlled fashion in order to protect public safety," Aglukkaq said in a news release.
"These changes will strengthen the safety of Canadian communities while making sure patients can access what they need to treat serious illnesses."
 Of course, they wrap it in the cloak of "community safety", when there isn't a shred of evidence to suggest that medical marijuana use has caused any community safety issues.  I will point out that any evidence the government may have is guaranteed to be purely anecdotal at this point, since they have ever so conveniently hamstrung the ability of Statistics Canada to gather reliable data.

There are two enormous questions that have not been addressed yet.  First is what are the criteria to become a "licensed marijuana grower"?  I'm going to put money on the rules being so strict that virtually nobody will be able to become one - not unlike what the government has done with the proposed rules around safe injection sites.

What the government has just done is push the use of marijuana to mitigate symptoms back underground.  The vast majority of users will not be willing to purchase the stuff via "mail order" models and will resort to the purchase of marijuana "off the street" simply because it is easier and more convenient - whatever the legal risks that may be associated with it.

There is nothing like a government which refuses to pay attention to available evidence and instead insists upon governing from ideology alone.

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