BY SPENCER ANDERSON, COMOX VALLEY ECHO
A Comox Valley medical marijuana advocate is challenging the constitutionality of federal regulations on the substance following police searches and his arrest at his home last year.
On Wednesday, Ernie Yacub filed a motion to challenge the constitutionality of sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) as they apply to cannabis used for medical or therapeutic purposes.
Yacub is also seeking the dismissal of two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking he is faced with under the CDSA. The charges were laid about three months ago, and he has entered not guilty pleas on both. Read more »
A medical marijuana support group wants Alberta Health Services to reverse a decision that restricts its use of the drug at a Calgary hospital.
The MMAR Patient Support Group meets at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, where members use vaporizers to ingest marijuana during their meetings.
Vaporizers heat the plant and turn the active ingredient into a vapour, which is then inhaled.
"It was deemed safe by AHS before. And, of course, we're talking about no smoke whatsoever, this is the healthiest alternative. So, now AHS is asking us to go outside and smoke, and go stand with the cigarette smokers,” says Lisa Kirkman, a spokesperson for the group.
AHS says it never approved indoor use of the vaporizers at any of its facilities.
“Everything about the support group that is important is still there, and still we're able to do that, but unfortunately members now have to get up and leave at different times during the meeting to go and medicate, and this is going to be a real problem when it's -40 C (outside)," adds Kirkman.
CTV Vancouver Island
COURTENAY – The operators of a North Island compassion club put BC’s Supreme Court on notice today saying they’ll be challenging Canada’s medical marijuana laws because they are unconstitutional.
Lawyer Kirk Tousaw was in Courtenay representing his client, Ernest Yacub, appearing on charges of possessing marijuana for the purposes of trafficking. Yacub had been running the compassion club out of his rental home in Courtenay for seven years before RCMP raided it twice last year.
Tousaw told members of the media that the club is for medical cannabis consumers with serious medical conditions. He said under the Canadian Charter, people are entitled to possess the medicine and to have access to it from a safe and effective source.
Yacub pleaded not guilty to the two counts against him. The next court appearance on the matter is scheduled for August 23rd.
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By: Nicole Seguin
Last week the New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM) brought to light a saddening issue about addiction and pharmaceutical pain medication, namely OxyContin. While this is an important issue to raise for public discussion, I found that the media coverage of this story lacked some context. Our society is still developing our understanding of addiction, be it of illicit substances or the abuse of pharmaceutical medication, and so we need to constantly evaluate and reevaluate our policies on this issue. Those policies have national, and international, consequences.
The pharmaceutical painkiller OxyContin contains oxycodone, which, like heroin, is derived from opium poppies. Since its introduction a growing number of patients prescribed the substance, as well as people who bought the drug illegally, have become addicted. This has prompted the manufacturer to change the formula of the OxyContin pill in 2010 to make it more difficult to inject or inhale. After the formula was changed, the name of the drug was changed as well, to OxyNeo. The letter published by NJEM showed that since the change to the formula, rates of opioid substance abuse, and the substance used, changed drastically. Those who identified OxyContin as their primary drug used dropped by over 20% just one year later. Over the same time period, use of other opioids such as Fentanyl and hydromorphone rose by over 12%. The substance used to 'get high' in the past month was also asked of respondents, and use of heroin was found to have almost doubled. Read more »
By: Nigel Armstrong, The Guardian
The legacy of Jack Layton, the late leader of the federal NDP was in evidence Tuesday in Charlottetown.
The provincial NDP held a strawberry and ice cream social plus a barbecue for anyone to attend. It was the first such typical political summer social the party has held in many years.
"I do think we are reviving ourselves," said Andrew Want, president of the New Democratic Party of P.E.I. "We needed some reorganization, some restructuring and this is part of it, in order to revive ourselves." Read more »
By Dana Larsen
Some highlights from four decades of work by the New Democratic Party to end Canada's war on marijuana.
1971: NDP introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana possession after Liberals ignore the recommendations of the LeDain Commission Report.
1978: NDP Convention passes policy resolution calling for decriminalization of marijuana.
1980: NDP Leader Ed Broadbent calls for decriminalization of marijuana during the 1980 election campaign.
1993: NDP MP Jim Fulton introduces a bill to legalize marijuana in Canada. Liberal government votes it down.
1995: NDP tries to remove fines for possession of marijuana from the Liberals "decriminalization" bill. Liberals insist on large fines for possession, then fail to pass their own bill.
1996: NDP fights against the Liberal government's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The new law increases penalties, makes it easier to seize homes, and eliminates jury trials for marijuana trafficking.
1997: NDP Leader Alexa McDonough tells media "It is madness for young people to end up with criminal records for the simple possession of marijuana."
1998: All NDP MPs send a letter to the head of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, calling for an end to the global drug war.
1999: NDP Convention again passes policy resolution calling for decriminalization of marijuana. Read more »
After the last federal election some observers felt the NDP had reached its peak based on the popularity of then-leader Jack Layton and the surprising success of the "orange wave" in Quebec.
Since then, the party has seen the death of Layton and a leadership campaign won by Thomas Mulcair, and recent polls have shown the NDP leading the federal Conservatives in national support.
What is happening with the NDP — is it turning into a possible national government alternative? How deep are these roots, and is there a spillover effect to its provincial fortunes?
"What's a bit of an eye-popper, is a recent poll that was completed by Environics Research on what is happening in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador," says Nik Nanos of Nanos Research. Read more »
By: ÉRIC GRENIER, Globe and Mail
Could the Rock be undergoing a political realignment of historic proportions? A new poll suggests that could be the case, as the New Democrats have made major gains at both the federal and provincial levels in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The telephone survey by Environics Research Group released late last week, which polled 1,000 residents of the province between June 19 and 29, indicates that the NDP is the voters’ party of choice -- particularly in and around St. John’s, the provincial capital. Read more »
By James Keller, The Canadian Press (Published on The Tyee)
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Once a week, Jamie MacDonald walks down a quiet alley in this sprawling community in British Columbia's Fraser Valley, finds a familiar black SUV and picks up a package of clean needles, alcohol swabs and other supplies for injecting heroin.
MacDonald doesn't need the needles himself -- although he's addicted to heroin, he smokes the drug -- but he has friends who do.
He takes a paper bag containing about 20 or so needles, meets with friends and chats with an outreach worker from Vancouver's Portland Hotel Society, who visits Abbotsford every Thursday with syringes, crack pipes and other supplies designed to make the lives of drug addicts safer. Read more »
By: Stephanie Law, Toronto Star
Sex work, possession of drugs for personal use and nondisclosure of HIV should all be decriminalized, according to a report released Monday by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.
The commission, led by the United Nations Development Program, was launched in June 2010 to make recommendations on how laws can be changed and used to protect the human rights of people living with HIV, and to help fight the global HIV epidemic.
There were 14 commissioners from different countries involved in putting together the final report, “HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health,” including former heads of state and leading legal, human rights and HIV experts.
“Too many countries waste vital resources by enforcing archaic laws that ignore science and perpetuate stigma,” said former president of Brazil and commission chair Fernando Henrique Cardoso in a press release. “Now, more than ever, we have a chance to free future generations from the threat of HIV. We cannot allow injustice and intolerance to undercut this progress, especially in these tough economic times.” Read more »