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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN AB: Last Toke For Home Grown Pot
Title:CN AB: Last Toke For Home Grown Pot
Published On:2012-01-21
Source:Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Fetched On:2012-01-23 06:02:39

CALGARY - The feds want to phase out licensing individuals to grow
medicinal marijuana in Canadian communities.

Under proposed regulatory changes to the Marihuana Medical Access
Program, a new supply and distribution system would be established
using "only licenced commercial producers," which would be the "only
legal source of dried marihuana."

While it's unclear what exactly changes might look like or when they
might happen, some claim the current system is flawed.

Many support a move to take legal grow-ops out of residential
communities, albeit late in the game.

Calgary police arson Det. Ryan Dobson doubts issues, from health to
safety, which have cropped up will see an easy fix but, he is glad to
see the feds look at a revamp.

"They've opened up this door. How are they going to close it now?" he
said. "oeI just finished talking to a lady who requires and is
permitted to posses who is crying on the phone wondering how she is
going to get it."

Janice, who asked her last name not be used, said when officials shut
down a home where individuals were licenced to grow medicinal
marijuana she lost the only drug that soothes the ravages of multiple

"It's the only thing that's worked," she said adding the plant treats
her depression, anxiety and pain.

She said word the supplier's home was closed forced her to find a way
to replace the precious plant she relies on to get through the days.

"I will have to go to the streets to buy my drugs," she said. "I
don't know what I'm going to do. It's a horrible situation -- how do
I find it, in the Yellow Pages?"

Her dilemma arose after officials closed a government-sanctioned
grow-op in Calgary this week "" deemed unfit for human habitation ""
leaving the woman with multiple sclerosis forced to find an
alternative supplier.

Ryan Dobson, investigating the deadly explosion at another legal grow
op, recognizes there are casualties to a program which should be better run.

He hopes proposed changes will see more scrutiny of those who get
licences to ensure they adhere to the rules , meaning people like
Janice are not caught in the middle when they don't.

"I think the ad hoc nature of allowing these permits from the
beginning was short-sighted," he said. "And certainly without
consultation with the communities affected."

Another concern cited by some is legal operations, even if run by the
book, can attract nefarious types, which appears to be the case with
the home shut this week.

"I have information this house was under some threat from organized
crime," Dobson said. "I believe the grower had been approached by
organized crime and was either pressured or threatened to grow for them."

Health Canada spokesman Gary Holub said changes being drafted will
ideally "address many concerns" with the current system by everyone
from citizens to emergency crews.

Taking production out of the hands of "individuals in their homes and
communities" is aimed at reducing "risk to public health, safety and
security resulting from such productions.

"Allowing individuals to grow marihuana for themselves has had
unintended consequences that create risks to public health, safety
and security," Holub said. "Phasing out production of marihuana for
medical purposes by individuals in their homes and communities would
reduce risks."

Sue Stevenson, who has MS, agrees.

She said the program, run properly, is "cherished and valuable," by
people like her who require pot to ease their pain.

She hopes the latest coverage doesn't make "all legal grow-ops," look
bad and applauds moves to better regulate those who hold licences and
see them go from basements to some sort of commercial operations.
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