Catch 22: Medicinal Pot Legal But Not Available

Catch 22: Medicinal Pot Legal But Not Available
Posted by CN Staff on March 08, 2003 at 00:04:10 PT
By John McDonald, Staff Reporter
Source: Kelowna Capital News 
If all you do is scan the headlines when you read the newspaper or get your news from television sound bites, it would be tempting to think that Canada has solved the problem of medicinal marijuana.It made headlines a couple of years back when the Chretien government finally gave in to pressure from many directions and created the Office of Cannabis Medical Access, ostensibly to give access to those in dire need of legal marijuana.
Indeed, the government went a step further and started growing its own stone in an abandoned mine shaft in Manitoba.(Never mind the typical government inefficiency of setting up shop in Manitoba when the best dope in the world is already being grown in the basements and attics of B.C.)The move was fodder for many a stand-up comic and political cartoonist but it seemed to show the government was serious about providing pot to people suffering from a variety of illnesses, some of them terminal.Problem solved, or so it seemed. Then the feds seemed to contract cold feet last fall when it did an abrupt about face.No longer was the Manitoban home grown going to find its way to sick people. It had been for research purposes all along and was not meant for public consumption.But the genie was already out of the bottle with hundreds of Canadians already given their section 56 exemption allowing them to possess marijuana for medical use.Unfortunately, the federal government has proven to be the least of their worries for, in typical high-handed fashion, the feds while changing the law seemed to have forgotten to consider all the other jurisdictions and governing bodies that might have be involved.Pharmacists wonít touch pot because itís a controlled substance. Welfare wonít pay for it for the same reason. Word is that doctors across Canada have recently been told to not fill our prescriptions for medical marijuana because of the legal limbo it seems to be mired in.Meanwhile, people who could benefit from the proven medicinal qualities of marijuana are left to deal with the black market to fill their own prescriptions.Itís hard to miss the irony in the fact that many legal drugs are abused while a so-called recreational drug can be used to help sick people.Pot has been used for many years by people in medical crisis and thatís not going to change.Like people who fly to exotic countries seeking desperate cures for cancer, those in need will find their weed.Itís just a shame that the government canít finish what it started and clear the decks for the legalóand simpleóprocurement of medical marijuana. Source: Kelowna Capital News (CN BC)Author: John McDonald, Staff ReporterPublished: March 7, 2003Copyright: 2003 West Partners Publishing Ltd.Contact: edit kelownacapnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Marijuana - Kelowna Capital News Pot Helps Him Cope With Pain To Appeal Marijuana Ruling 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 09, 2003 at 12:38:22 PT
Thank you for the transcripts!
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on March 08, 2003 at 23:09:00 PT:
Does God approve of getting high?
360į Vision - Current Affairs, 
 Thursdays at 8pm ET/PT, 
With host Jelena Mihajlovic Mar 6, 2003: 
Does God approve of getting high?TRANSCRIPT:Host: Welcome back. The debate over marijuana has always been a heated one. The most extreme example is the 1937 drug scare movie Reefer Madness in which pot smokers are portrayed as violent homicidal maniacs. Hereíre some of the statements made on the con side of some of the earlier dialogue about marijuana use. In 1937 Newsweek wrote, ďA California man decapitated his best friend while under the violent spell of the smoke.Ē In 1948 federal Bureau of Narcotics Chief Harry Anslinger once said, ďMarijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing.Ē And how about this one? ďMarijuana leads to homosexuality and therefore to AIDS.Ē That can be attributed to former White House Drug Czar Carlton Turner in 1986. Obviously, the debate hasnít always been an informed one. It is once again on the front burner with the recent government decision to decriminalize possession for small amounts. That is the focus of todayís Double Vision.Slide: Double Vision--Gone to Pot--Producer: Carolyn Dartnell--Editor: Charles MullerDave and Nathan, college roommates.Dave: Well, there goes my political career. [as he smokes a joint on camera]Host or announcer: Cannabis, marijuana, is the most widely used illicit substance in the world. Thatís according to the United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention. Prevalence in the general population in North America is 6.6%, over 20 million people.Dave: Itís so funny how things change in your mind like after...Announcer: Dave and Nathan are good friends. Dave smokes marijuana. Nathan quit.Nathan: I quit because it decreased my motivation a lot. I felt like I was like a kind of a lazy bum. I had trouble getting up in the morning. I would not do my work. I would have trouble in school.Dave: It feels good. Marijuana helps me slow down and keeps and gives me a perspective on things that I didnít have before.Nathan: 2 of the negative effects are just feeling a lot more foggy, like it adds another layer of sort of just fog, confusion to the like consciousness. Some of the other things are motivation. Motivation is a really big one.Dave: You go into smoking weed with that idea that it does decrease your motivation. You do it because you want to relax. You do it because you want to, you know, chill out and kind of slow everything down and take a break from everything.Tengyeling Tibetan Buddhist Temple: chanting crowd.Announcer: A large number of mostly young people, including Nathan, gather in this temple to hear some straight talk from a Buddhist nun.Venerable Lama Tenzin Kalsang, Buddhist Nun, Tengyeling Tibetan Buddhist Temple.Nun: People take marijuana in the hopes of achieving some sort of enlightenment, but no drug can ever produce the state of enlightenment. The Buddha has very carefully laid out vows and practices that we need to do that will reduce causing suffering and also enhance the probability of happiness. Marijuana is just not in the picture. It is something to be avoided.Announcer: In order for these seekers to become lay practitioners of Buddhism they have to take 5 vows.Nun: We have the fifth vow that a lay person can take, which is the vow to abstain from mind-altering intoxicants, and so, marijuana and any other drug, mind-altering drug, fits into that category. Announcer: This, more than the influence of parents, peers or the law, is what influences Nathan. Nathan: Buddhism is one of the main influences in my life, and itís the thing thatís bringing me the most peace in my whole life. And theyíre 100% against drugs, and I respect everything they say. If they say I shouldnít smoke drugs, then thereís got to be something to it.Dave: But I think that how marijuana influences spirituality is more based on the person, you know, like so if someone is like before smoking marijuana, they were already finding themselves to be spiritual, it may enhance their spirituality because of the altered perception that it does give. But as a drug on a whole, I donít think it does help increase like your closeness to God or anything like that.Announcer: Robin Ellins, owner of this store selling cannabis paraphernalia and hemp products disagrees.Robin Ellins, Friendly Stranger Cannabis Culture Shop.Robin: Cannabis is something that definitely opens doors to perception in different ways and is a connection to spirituality. A lot of people use it as a sacrament, and there are religions that use cannabis as a sacrament. Thereíre some great books on the subject that deal with cannabis and spirituality.Slide of book: Green Gold, the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion 
--Chris Bennett, Chris, Lynn Osburn, & Judy OsburnAnnouncer: Focus on the family is an organization promoting Christian family values. Marijuana is high on its agenda.Slide of focusonthefamily Canada website, showing links:--The use of Marijuana for Medical Purposes 
--Reality Check> WHATíS THE DEAL WITH USING MARIJUANA?--Reality Check> WHATíS THE DEAL WITH HARM REDUCTIONAnna Marie White, Sr. Policy Analyst, Focus on the Family Canada.Anna: The faith perspective would be that you should not be taking any kind of psychoactive drug because it damages the human body, and within the Christian faith the human body is considered the temple of God, the temple of the Lord, and it is sort of where He indwells. Thatís the faith perspective. Announcer: Anna Marie White is the Sr. Policy Analyst of this Vancouver-based Christian group.Anna: Weíre much more concerned with the health perspective and the societal effects, which will extend further beyond just the circle of believers that may feel because of their faith convictions they have a problem with marijuana. This goes much beyond that into the effect it will have upon our entire society. There is a scientific basis to back them up, and we feel itís very important faith groups play a role in educating Canadian society.Announcer: This is what concerns Focus on the Family: A federal government report, which recommends decriminalizing possession and growing of a small amount of marijuana for personal use.Slide: Policy for the New Millennium --Working Together to Redefine Canadaís Drug Strategy--Report of the Special Committee on Non-Medical Use of DrugsAnna: Weíre very concerned about how this will impact Canadian families, particularly with the messaging that weíre sending to our youth. In a democracy a government is elected, and they are expected to implement laws and legislation that are for the public good, and we donít see that happening with the current proposals for marijuana legislation.Paddy Torsney, Member of Parliament, Burlington.Paddy: Part of the challenge is people have misread our report and people have misunderstood that we want it to continue to be illegal. Announcer: Paddy Torsney, Member of Parliament for Burlington, Ontario, chaired the committee that wrote the report.Paddy: Right now, we have lots of people who are defying the law. The lawís not working as effectively as we want, so weíre saying, ďContinue to make it illegal,Ē thatís important. We do think there are impacts from its use, but how we sanction people for breaking the law is what we want to change. Weíre saying, ďUnder 30 grams you get a fine, and over 30 grams youíll definitely have a criminal sanction.Ē We think it will be applied more evenly because a police officer will, in fact, write a ticket, and there isnít, itís not an expensive process to prosecute it and what have you, and there will be a consistent application of the law. You get caught with a joint, you will receive a fine.Announcer: A fine, something like a speeding ticket, will replace the present penalty, which includes a criminal record.Dan McTeague, Member of Parliament, Pickering-Ajax-Uxbridge.Dan: But I think the public sees this as a condoning because anything that removes the criminal sanction, the criminal statement, would in essence be a permission given by the state that it has basically quit any claim that it has in terms of if itís mere possession.Announcer: Dan McTeague, another Ontario Member of Parliament, wades through the emails he gets, which oppose changes to the marijuana laws. Thereís confusion here: does decriminalize mean itís okay to smoke a joint? Dan: From a legislative standpoint the number of ills that this invites far outweighs the potential for innocence to take a simple toke or something like that, which I suspect a lot of people have done. I think, in this kind of circumstance, we still have to send a message that it is wrong and that the interests of the individual in the short term are not nearly as important as the concern the public has in the long run.Slide: Fighting Marijuana Grow Houses--Official Hansard, November 26, 2002 --Mr. Dan McTeague (Pickering-Ajax-Uxbridge, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, marijuana grow houses are increasing at a rapid rate throughout Canada. It turns out that there is obviously a very lucrative opportunity for organized crime.Announcer: 3/4 of all drug-related incidents reported by Canadian police services in 2001 involved cannabis. The law is in disarray, and judges are reluctant to convict people for possession.Dave: I think decriminalization is a great idea. The amount of money saved by municipal governments and even the court system like of processing all the people being caught for possession of marijuana would be like a reason to do it in and of itself, and like it would save the time of the cops. Maybe they could be spending more time looking at hard drugs, which do more damage to people.Nathan: Hard drugs are generally a lot worse.Robin: Itís been used since the beginning of recorded time. This is something thatís not going to be removed from our culture, no matter what the laws are. The reality is we need to change the laws because people are being labelled as criminals for coming into contact with this, and thatís just not fair. Nathan: Thereís got to be some element of forgiveness, you know. If you kill somebody, like thatís a pretty big debt, but if youíre going to smoke a joint, thatís not much of a debt to society, I donít think. Youíre only harming yourself anyways, you know.Announcer: But that harm can be considerable, the report points out, so as well as recommending decriminalization, it also recommends education, outlining the risks of cannabis use, especially for young people.Anna: There is absolutely a contradiction with what the government is attempting to do. To approve a substance, which they know is harmful, not only to an individual, but potentially to a society, and then to attempt to reduce the harm just seems like a flawed logic.Announcer: While Focus on the Family is lobbying the federal government to forestall decriminalization, Tenzin takes little interest in the law.Nun: Itís not something weíre concerned about because the law is something outside oneís self, and we Buddhists believe in working from inside ourselves. We believe in using our consciences, but if we can help people who do un-virtuous things to realize that theyíre doing harm to themselves and harm to others, I feel thatís a better way.Nathan: I have more energy. I have a lot more energy. I can socialize a lot better. I feel more confident. I feel cleaner, like just my consciousness feels cleaner.Announcer: The ethical and spiritual issues surrounding marijuana will undoubtedly continue. The law will be debated in Parliament this year.Host: Activists on both sides of the issue have been working for years to change the marijuana laws. What do you think: should the possession and growing of small amounts of marijuana be legal? That is todayís [6.Mar.2003] web poll question, so logon to, and cast your vote.
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