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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
Volume 2 - Policies and Practices In Canada

Chapter 13 - Regulating Therapeutic Use of Cannabis



We would like to emphasize that the changes we propose to the MMAR still ensure that therapeutic use is limited to cases of legitimate medical need and that distribution and production is done under governmental licence.



Conclusions of Chapter 13


Ø      The MMAR are not providing a compassionate framework for access to marijuana for therapeutic purposes and are unduly restricting the availability of marijuana to patients who may receive health benefits from its use.

Ø      The refusal of the medical community to act as gatekeepers and the lack of access to legal sources of cannabis appear to make the current regulatory scheme an “illusory” legislative exemption and raises serious Charter implications.

Ø      In almost one year, only 255 people have been authorized to possess marijuana for therapeutic purposes under the MMAR and only 498 applications have been received – this low participation rate is of concern.

Ø      Changes are urgently needed with regard to who is eligible to use cannabis for therapeutic purposes and how such people gain access to cannabis.

Ø      Research on the safety and efficacy of cannabis has not commenced in Canada because researchers are unable to obtain the product needed to conduct their trials.

Ø      No attempt has been made in Health Canada’s current research plan to acknowledge the considerable expertise currently residing in the compassion clubs.

Ø      The development of a Canadian source of research-grade marijuana has been a failure.



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