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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN AB: New Leaf For Pot Program
Title:CN AB: New Leaf For Pot Program
Published On:2012-01-21
Source:Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Fetched On:2012-01-23 06:02:45

The feds want to phase out licencing 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.

"I 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."

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

It is one of two cases that have city and police officials concerned
- - especially given health Canada will not disclose locations where
licenced producers live and there are concerns there is too little
oversight by the feds.

Last October, a man was burned at another home, where a resident a
licence to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes, after fire broke out.

The 42-year-old father, who the Sun has chosen not to name, died this month.

Charges are pending given the fire is said to be caused by cooking hash oil.

"We could be looking at criminal negligence causing death or
manslaughter," Dobson said.

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 organize 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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