Accessing My ACMPR

Aug 29/16 – First contact with my General Practitioner’s office in regards to obtaining my Federal License

Today I made an appointment with my family doctor by phone. When asked the reason for the visit, I told the receptionist that it was to begin the process of getting my medical cannabis license. I assumed I would be told to book a longer appointment, and what to expect with paperwork and fees. However, the receptionist didn’t change the appointment time or tell me anything about documentation. Wanting to make sure I knew what I was in for, I got online, did some research, and printed out the 12-page application. I would see my doctor in 2 days and I was positively anxious. I have never lied to my doctor about using cannabis to treat the chronic symptoms I live with. In fact, my doctor has always been supportive. I imagined that if I explained my reasoning well, my doctor would have no problem supporting me in getting my license.

Aug 31/16 – First visit with GP

Thrilled to see that the Federal Government was beginning to accept applications, I came to my GP with a big smile and optimistic attitude. I am currently a member of both the municipal and school district union and am concerned about the stigma associated with Cannabis. I am seeking this license through entirely honest means so that if I am ever confronted about my medicine in regards to my profession, I can legally back up my cannabis use. Despite this argument, my family doctor flat out refused. His response was quite shocking to me. Promptly and definitively, he told me he doesn’t give any medical cannabis licenses out at all to anyone; he has never, will never and feels it is not ethical. Quite surprised, I had to probe as to why this hard stance was necessary, and the response was it was a herb and couldn’t be regulated.

I explained that with the new ACMPR, I was only allowed to either grow myself or go to a Licensed Producer. Going by what the Government presented to the public, I explained LPs are supposed to be completely regulated and tested; I failed to mention that dispensaries do a much better job of connecting the patient to the producer. But he still refused! Seeing we were at an impasse, he hit me with a smoke bomb (pardon the pun) about marijuana dependence. Quite unprepared for this obvious flimflam, I decided why not? I’ll indulge this because it seems delusional and there were no disappointments. My poor GP saw that he was going to earn every penny with me and defended the dreaded marijuana dependence; he also explained that he had yet to read the article from which he had learned this fact. He showed me where I could find it online so that I could read it myself, and also mentioned that I was welcome to go to another doctor who would provide this for me. I shuffled out the door and as I walked out, it dawned on me, whether I should use Cannabis at all was never discussed or even questioned.

Aug 31/16 – Evening at home

I read that article and it basically just classifies addiction. When an addict uses cannabis as their drug of choice, this article called it marijuana dependence and went as far as mentioning its classification in the DSM-IV. Interestingly, the fact that there is no physical dependence was mentioned. However, the article didn’t say anything about the fact that every mood-affecting substance that can be abused can be classified in the DSM-IV…even toad licking.

Sept 10/16 – VCBC visit

Annoyed by the situation, I went to the Victoria’s Cannabis Buyers Club for a visit and some advice. An extremely kind staff member pointed out the fact that it was unethical for my doctor to deny me access to Federal Protection for a medicine if he condones my use of it. A legal release of liability form was printed, and I felt geared up for my next visit.

Sept 14/16 – GP Appointment – Round 2
Not going down without a fight, I got into more details about how this amazing plant had helped me so much the moment my doctor sat down. I have been using cannabis every day for the last 14 years, but mostly medicinally and in mainly edible form for the last 8 years. I explained that my endometriosis and cramps during my period were still extremely painful, but that I treat it entirely with cannabis (as opposed to 6 1/2 years of high doses of heavy duty opiates). This doctor diagnosed my cervical cancer, booked my surgeries and saw me at least once a week for almost 5 years. He prescribed my opiates, saw me suffer every week, and flat out refused to prescribe cannabis; even after I used it to successfully replace opiates for over 2 years. The part that blew my mind was that there was no factual basis for his decision that he could present; he said he just doesn’t prescribe it at all, under any circumstances.

I presented the legal release of liability form and he barely looked at it. Going to another doctor was the solution he offered until I explained how they work. It might be called an application or processing fee but one way or another, going to an organization that will find me a willing doctor means paying for that prescription; that is not constitutional. I was happy to see the genuine horror on his face when I explained this system, but, the horror wasn’t enough to make things change. When the stalemate was clear between us, I stated my intention to not stop until my medicine is federally licensed. My doctor had no desire or intention to stop me but he wouldn’t be part of it. Before I walked out, I asked him what he thought of that article on marijuana dependence… He still hadn’t read it.

To be continued…

This article first appeared in the Cannabis Digest