Many of Canada’s cannabis consumers, producers, and retailers welcome the Cannabis Act review. And why not? It’s a year late, and there are plenty of problems with the current legalization scheme we hope the review will fix.
Health Canada is asking for our input. If enough people submit negative reviews of the medical cannabis program, Health Canada may scrap it altogether.
The survey is open until Monday, November 21st.
Cannabis Act Review: Section 5.2
So, instead of using the Cannabis Act review to increase THC limits or remove Ottawa’s bureaucracy from the industry as much as possible, Health Canada wants to end medical cannabis.
This is like asking an electrician to look at a faulty light in your house. Instead, he removes all the copper electrical wiring from your home.
“Everyone’s going to aluminum wiring,” he’ll say. “I did you a favour.” He might even add it’s for public health and safety.
That’s Health Canada’s reasoning. Yet, despite the usual “we’re doing this for your own good,” rhetoric, the devil is in the details.
Section 5.2 of the survey asks, “Is a distinct medical access program necessary to provide individuals with reasonable access to cannabis for medical purposes, or can access needs be met through the non-medical framework?”
In other words, isn’t the recreational market enough? Do we need tens of thousands of home gardening medical licenses?
If this sounds familiar, it’s because the healthcare bureaucracy tried to pull the same stunt under Stephen Harper.
But as economist Ludwig von Mises once wrote, “the cabinets come and go, but the bureaus remain.”
Or, as long-time cannabis activist Ted Smith put it, “It’s the bureaucracy. The politicians aren’t making these decisions. That’s what happened with the MMPR. That wasn’t the politicians deciding, that was the bureaucrats sick of dealing with patients and their licenses.”
Cannabis Act Review: Ending Medical Gardens
Reasonable access to medical cannabis is a constitutional right in Canada. This is why Health Canada has a medical cannabis program. It’s not because they believe in the power of the herb. They don’t even like it.
“They’ve hated it,” says Ted Smith. “This whole program has just been rammed down their throats.”
Health Canada and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) have done everything they can to undermine medical cannabis.
Don’t let these names fool you. The “Health” in Health Canada doesn’t refer to the word as we usually define it. An organization that receives 90% of its funding from pharmaceutical corporations will have a different definition of “health,” then the patient relying on medical cannabis.
Likewise, the CMA has never been for medical cannabis. Vice-president Dr. Blackmer said legalization makes the medical program “redundant.”
(The CMA also called the “fourth wave” of COVID-19 a “result of misinformation, under-vaccination and premature abandonment of public health mitigation strategies,” so go figure.)
The fact remains: these bureaucracies don’t work for the average person. We have no means of withdrawing our financial support. And no elected politician can gut these unaccountable antidemocratic institutions without facing backlash from corporate presstitutes and public labour unions.
What if Canada Loses its Medical Program?
You may think, what’s the big deal? Since Canada has legal cannabis, can’t patients walk into any number of stores and purchase cannabis like anyone else?
But consider, without a medical cannabis program:
Thousands of MMAR licence holders will cease to exist.
No more medical discounts to low-income or palliative care patients.
Lower demand for (and eventual elimination of) cannabis products designed for medical purposes
No more reimbursements or coverage from insurance companies
No more information about cannabis for medical purposes since the law prevents budtenders from recommending cannabis for health ailments.
Are The Days of Medical Cannabis in Canada Numbered?
The Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club have made their answers to Health Canada’s questions available on Cannabis Digest.
Less than a week before the survey closes, Smith and the VCBC hope the public will see the arguments being made and voice their support.
The VCBC is also holding a press conference this Friday, November 18th, at 1 pm. In addition to the survey, they will also discuss a Saskatchewan court case involving Pat Warnecke and the Best Buds Society.
Take the Survey and Tell Health Canada to Keep their Hands Off Our Medicine