night time

A Short History of Medical Cannabis

First, the Harper government decided the medical cannabis industry needed licensed producers.

Naturally, you’d expect a civil government to work with the existing medical growers as well as the “illegal,” yet in many ways lawful, taxpaying dispensaries and compassion clubs.

In practice, the democratically elected government rejected nearly all applicants to its new licensing scheme, establishing a “free market” oligopoly of producers with its regulations.

A judge-ordered injunction saved the old growers, but the police continue to crack down on entrepreneurs dispensing cannabis in buildings rather than on the street.

When Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won a majority government, it was expected that legalization would finally include the older medical growers, dispensaries and compassion clubs, even the MMPR’s licensed producers, as well as any new entrepreneur eager to grow or buy cannabis and use it in all its forms.

The results have been lacklustre to say the least. But what about the medical community?

If Justin legalizes “for the children,” meaning no home-growing, then what becomes of the medical patients not covered by the injunction? Are they still prohibited from growing their own? Must they rely solely on licensed producers?

What’s the difference between recreational and medical? Medical patients get a tax write-off? Perhaps “legalization” will mean medical cannabis in pharmacies and recreational cannabis sold in liquor stores.

Same supply, different retail outlet.

Perhaps corporate pharmaceutical companies will locate here (think of the jobs!) and begin testing, extracting, and selling pills derived from cannabis.

“Medical cannabis” could come to mean something entirely different.

With Conservative leader Rona Ambrose now accepting Liberal legalization because of reefer madness about the children, it’s clear both parties aren’t ready to give up on prohibition.

What will the Liberal position on medical cannabis be, similar to the Conservatives’? Keep it out of the hands of children and organized crime by taking away self-cultivation and making patients go through licensed producers?

If Justice Phelan rules that the federal government can’t destroy these gardens, will Justin’s Liberal government appeal the decision? That was the plan under Harper and everybody’s lawyers were preparing for it.

But what about now? When John Conroy told patients to vote Liberal, was he under the impression that a Liberal government would cease the appeal process? What if they don’t?

Justice Phelan holds incredible power, perhaps rightfully so, but this is a lot of power for a single person, a third-party arbitrator part of the same tax-funded apparatus the Coalition is suing.

Is this why his decision has taken so long? Is Justice Phelan waiting on the Liberals?

How impartial can judges be in this highly politicized society? Does he read the news? Is he well-informed about the cannabis community here?

Or must he stay somewhat ignorant of external facts and stick to court-evidence to achieve true impartiality?

Maybe it’s a mixture of both. Either way, instead of waiting for Justin, the key component of legalization — self-cultivation — may rest in Justice Phelan’s hands.