By Jessica Hume, CNews
OTTAWA - After admitting it is ill-equipped to track abuses of the medical marijuana grow-op licenses it issues, Health Canada says it wants to eliminate them altogether and replace them with a mail-order system.
"With over 20,000 Canadians using medical marijuana and each of them theoretically being able to grow it in their own home, this creates a system that would require massive amounts of people to inspect thousands of homes," a spokesman told Sun News.
"The new system will be designed to eliminate as much abuse as possible while making sure patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana are able to access it." Read more »
BY MARK KENNEDY, Times Colonist
Two-thirds of Canadians think the law should be changed so that people caught with small amounts of marijuana no longer face criminal penalties or fines, a new poll has found.
The nationwide survey for Postmedia News and Global TV, which examined the state of Canadian values, found that the public is distinctly offside with the Harper government on the issue.
Earlier this spring, Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended a summit of leaders from the Americas, where some called for a major review of the so-called "war on drugs," and perhaps even the decriminalization of some drug use. Also this year, Liberals at a policy conference passed a resolution endorsing the legalization of marijuana. Read more »
The number of needles being exchanged at provincially-run centres on P.E.I. has doubled in the last two years.
The government took over the program from AIDS PEI in spring of 2009. The needles are provided to prevent the transmission of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
Since 2010, the number of needles exchanged has doubled from about 40,000 a year to 80,000. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said that doesn't necessarily mean there are more IV drug users in the province.
"We said right from the beginning when we started running this program, it takes time for clients to feel comfortable coming to needle exchange programs," said Morrison. Read more »
A new kind of patient’s rights group gathered on Parliament Hill Friday — people who use pot just to be able to get through their day.
The Medicinal Cannabis Patients Alliance of Canada (MCPAC) represents “chronically and critically ill” patients who require marijuana as a medicine. They’re upset that, more than a decade after Canada legalized the medical use of marijuana, doctors are still refusing to sign the declarations patients need to get legal access to pot. Proposed changes to Canada’s medicinal marijuana access program, they say, will create even more needless pain. Read more »
By: Bilbo Poynter, The Guardian
US private prison firms are targeting Canada for fresh opportunities as pressure builds at home on the troubled multi-billion dollar industry from human rights groups and legal actions, and as more states look to scale back their reliance on them.
Two of the biggest operators in an industry once regarded as recession-proof, Geo Group and Management and Training Corporation (MTC), have been lobbying various government departments in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. Read more »
by Mark Stone, Castanet
Five years after putting the finishing touches on marijuana documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, Kelowna filmmaker Adam Scorgie didn’t expect the film’s greatest impact would be made in the summer of 2012. Scorgie recently returned from a very successful journey to somewhere he never dreamed his film would take him: Parliament Hill.
Scorgie, along with The Union director Brett Harvey, were invited to speak in front of members of parliament about the pervasive issue of marijuana legalization. The official summons to Parliament Hill was initiated by the former Attorney General of Canada, Irwin Cotler, who wanted Scorgie and Harvey to help educate parliamentarians about the issue of violence and organized crime of smuggling in Canada. Read more »
BY IAN MULGREW, VANCOUVER SUN
The federal government's plan to revamp Canada's medical marijuana pro-gram and address court-raised constitutional concerns seems half-baked.
The proposed changes ignore a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling and do little to properly address some of the most contentious issues.
In particular, Ottawa intends to continue to permit only dried marijuana to be produced, sold and distributed to medical patients who will use a new document issued by doctors to buy pot from commercial producers.
That decision flies in the face of Justice Robert Johnson's ruling in April that patients could make cannabis-infused oils, drink it in their tea or bake it into brownies and cookies, not just smoke it. Read more »
by Jon White, New Scientist
David Nutt, former adviser to the UK government, says the ban on drugs like ecstasy is hampering neuroscience
How do the drug laws in most countries affect scientific research?
One of the things I find very disturbing about the current approach to drugs, which is simply prohibition without necessarily any full understanding of harms, is that we lose sight of the fact that these drugs may well give us insights into areas of science that need to be explored and may give us new opportunities for treatment.
In what way?
Almost all the drugs of interest in terms of understanding brain phenomena such as consciousness, perception, mood and psychosis are illegal. And so there is almost no work done in this field.
How bad is the impact? Read more »
BY DOUGLAS QUAN, POSTMEDIA NEWS
Canadians looking to get criminal pardons are getting unfair preferential treatment if they've paid more for the service, critics say.
A national pardon services company wrote to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews on May 28. It c o m plained that the Parole Board of Canada was giving priority to applicants who had paid heftier fees introduced earlier this year, and not responding in a timely manner to the "substantial backlog" of applications - about 22,500, the government admits - submitted before the fee increase.
"One can only imagine the outcry that would occur, if, for example, municipalities gave preferential access to municipal services to residents who paid higher property taxes because they live in more expensive homes," wrote Azmairnin Jadavji, president of Pardon Services Canada, a Vancouver-based company that helps individuals with their applications.
Back in February, the fee for applying for a pardon - or what the government now calls a "record suspension" - quadrupled from $150 to $631. The government said at the time that the cost increase was needed to address workload increases and ensure the sustainability of the pardons program. Read more »
By Mona Mattei, The Castlegar Source
A challenge to step up leadership was given to Grand Forks city council when mayor Brian Taylor asked them to join the campaign to end the prohibition of marijuana in Canada.
Taylor wants council to join in with the other B.C. municipalities, now over 13 of a possible 160 and growing, in the Stop the Violence campaign. The campaign asks provincial party leaders to pressure the Canadian government for a shift in attitude in drug policy. The provincial and federal governments need to realize that prohibition has been a costly failure and they need to find some other way to manage marijuana, Taylor said in comments to council. Read more »