Medical cannabis users want more control under legalization

The Liberals’ plans to regulate and legalize cannabis have left many medical cannabis users wondering what the system will look like.

Farm Assists Cannabis Resource Centre owner Christopher Enns, in Halifax, doesn’t think the changes will impact what he’s doing.

Enns has continued supplying medical cannabis users as a designated grower, even after his shop was raided by police.

Under the previous Conservative government, medical cannabis users were required to buy through licensed producers, by mail order. A system Enns hoped is ended, for patients’ benefit.

“You didn’t have to purchase it without seeing it, without smelling it,” he said. “You could look at it and make a decision as to whether this is a medicine that’s going to work for you.”

Enns wants the new government to get rid of Stephen Harper’s restrictions on private growers.

But licensed producers like Canopy Growth Corp. believe once the recreational market is approved, they’ll be able to move in, beyond the scope of their current medical cannabis licenses.

“The debate is going to be about the distribution,” said Canopy CEO Bruce Linton. “Should it arrive through the mail, should it be presented in something like the Ontario Beer Store? That’s going to be the debate, and which provinces and in which order. But I think the actual ability to produce, control, make sure there are no criminal elements involved, we have that in Canada.”

But big business moving into the market isn’t a good thing for medical cannabis patients, Enns said.

“This legalized recreational market that’s being proposed that will necessarily be heavily taxed,” said Enns. “We’re talking about a medicine. In no form is any other product in Canada taxed when it’s a medicine.”