The right to grow marijuana in Canada to help chronic pain suffers may be taken away. Health Canada said last week the program is hard to police and the agency seeks to replace it with a system of mailing the drug to users.
Since 2001, Health Canada has been issuing licences for people with "grave and debilitating illnesses" to grow marijuana for medical use. If they are not able to grow the marijuana, they can have someone do so for them, with that grower obtaining a "designated-person production licence."
But Health Canada says that policing the system is proving difficult and police say abusers of the system are growing more than needed, and selling it. A story in the Toronto Sun on July 9 said that an RCMP report "found roughly one-third of marijuana trafficking and production cases involved licensed individuals growing more than the allowable amount."
Mail-in medical marijuana
The system that would replace the current one would see those with a licence to use marijuana for medical purposes obtain their dosage of the drug through mail-order. The marijuana would be grown by an industrial company and sold to the government, who would in turn sell it to the licenced users.
Critics say such a system would produce marijuana too costly. The roughly 15.000 to 20,000 people in Canada licenced to use the drug for medical purposes will not have to worry about the changes now, however - if implemented they will not occur until 2014 at the earliest.