Marijuana issues are separate

Canada’s plan to legalize, regulate and restrict cannabis and the issue regarding dispensaries are two separate things.

Re: John Harding’s editorial ‘In the Weeds’ (The NEWS, April 26).

Canada’s plan to legalize, regulate and restrict cannabis and the issue regarding dispensaries are two separate things. Dispensaries are a response to the shortcomings of licensed producers and the MMPR (Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations). The Allard ruling was about medical gardens, access and the MMPR. The MMPR was declared unconstitutional on Feb. 24. The ruling was suspended for six months till Aug. 24; the government chose not to appeal.

In the interim, though, Canadians with serious health issues are still being expected to utilize an unconstitutional program — if they can find an authorizing doctor — and access sanctioned producers that are well beyond the means of most on fixed incomes. Dispensaries, which often offer better selections and some respite price-wise, are still being raided, or given notices to shut down, right across Canada.

Those that can’t, don’t, or won’t qualify under the MMPR, are, nevertheless, currently being left in the lurch and risk incarceration. Many of these Canadians with serious health issues rely on the dispensaries which task force overseer Bill Blair has indirectly implied will get no circumstantial considerations whatsoever.

Are dispensary raids, shut-down notices and leaving Canadians with serious health issues in a predicament, an example of cannabis policy informed by solid scientific evidence or a benevolent medical cannabis program?

Is this the gauge which public health intends to use to maximize education and minimize harms or is it to be about looking for illicit contraband?

What about Canadians with serious health issues who can’t gain legal access and are falling through the cracks in the system, then?

Cannabis aside, since when has it become acceptable in Canada to build recreation on the backs of Canadians with serious health issues?

Wayne PhillipsHamilton, Ont.

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