The government’s new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) leaves out a massive portion of Canadian patients that want to grow their own cannabis.

The new regulations state that patients cannot grow if they have had any drug related charges, specifically cannabis charges, within the last 10 years.

Applicants hoping to enter the ACMPR must declare they “have not been convicted, as an adult, of a designated cannabis offence or an offence that, if committed outside of Canada, would have constituted such an offence that was committed while [they were] authorized to produce cannabis under the act, other than under the former Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.”

But, even those patients not permitted to grow their own cannabis are still freely allowed to
purchase from government-controlled, large producers.

“Everyone’s cheering ‘yes, we get to have our grows back,’ well, not everybody does.” said Cheryl Rose from the Haley Rose Foundation. “If you got busted with a joint or a gram of cannabis and now you’re a medical patient, which is probably why you were consuming it to begin with, you won’t be able to produce your own, but someone who committed a bank robbery probably would be able to, because they don’t have this possession charge.”

A 2015 report from police stated that every nine minutes a Canadian is charged with cannabis possession, leading cannabis advocate Dana Larsen to write that, since Justin Trudeau took office Nov. 4, 2015 with the promise to legalize cannabis, 22,400 more charges were laid.

Larsen’s article was written in March, 2016, if the police statistic of one charge every nine minutes holds true, 58,400 charges will be brought against cannabis users in this country — almost 600,000 in the last ten years.

Many of those charges have been against registered medicinal cannabis patients or those that may have wanted to be but weren’t able to access the legal system.

I’m only using these numbers as a quick example, they are not intended to get a exact amount of charges, which could be higher or lower.

However, in the last six months under Trudeau, the prime minister who promised to “legalize,” the Canadian cannabis community has suffered the most busts, arrests, charges and seizures in Canadian history.

Those ill and ailing cannabis users charged with drug related offences, or even those associated with an individual who is known to be involved in or to contribute to” suspected “illicit activities directed toward or in support of the trafficking or diversion of controlled substances,” that want to grow cannabis for its healing powers now have no ability to do so.

On one hand, the large cannabis producers, made up of big companies, investors, bankers, and stock brokers, both foreign and domestic, are set up and aligned to make billions, and a small number of home growers will be approved under the unfairly strict Health Canada regulations.

They have the “luxury” to supply their own medicine and, in the licensed producers‘ case, the “luxury” of making a lot of money, hand over fist.

On the other hand, are potentially hundreds of thousands of Canadians that may want to be approved but are excluded.

These Canadians have already paid, or will pay, the heavy price of criminal charges, convictions, fines, jail times, lost jobs and job opportunities, and denied border travel.

It is this cannabis activist’s opinion that this does nothing to help patients, it actually hurts them and favours the large, corporate producers as patients being denied their ability to grow must still obtain their medicine and, with a past conviction, the only legal route available to them is purchasing from a licensed producer.

As a long-term medicinal cannabis activist in constant contact with medicinal users around the country, the restrictions included in the ACMPR against cannabis patients is a violation of equality.