PR: Health Canada Invites the CCC to MMAR Consultation meeting
Health Canada Invites the CCC to MMAR Consultation meeting
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, February 16, 2004
FURTHER INFO: The Canadian Cannabis Coalition
HEALTH CANADA INVITES THE CCC TO MMAR CONSULTATION MEETING
On Feb 18th, Health Canada’s Office of Medical Cannabis Access (OCMA) will be holding the last of a series of consultations on amendments meant to address the court’s latest judgment on its Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR). In that judgment, the program was found unconstitutional and remedies to several of its many problems were ordered.
The MMAR was established due to an earlier court decision that ordered the government to change the cannabis prohibition laws to ensure those in medical need do not face criminal repercussions for the possession and production of this herb. Since its implementation over five years ago, the program has spent more money on court challenges than actually providing cannabis to those in need or on conducting research.
The Canadian Cannabis Coalition (CCC) – an umbrella organization representing medical, commercial and personal aspects of cannabis – was invited to attend this meeting. Other groups, including the BC Compassion Club Society, Canadians for Safe Access and Medusers, were also invited, but only after repeated requests. These delegates, unlike all the other stakeholders attending, are knowledgeable about and have first-hand experience working with medical cannabis. This will add much needed insight into solutions for the MMAR.
In the past The OCMA has excluded these vitally important groups from their consultations, despite years of input into the program. While cannabis advocacy groups will be participating in this process, they are disappointed that Health Canada waited until the last session to invite the primary stakeholders – medical cannabis users, distributors and producers.
In 2000, the CCC offered unsolicited recommendations to Health Canada on its proposed clinical trials, cannabiscoalition.ca/coalitionltr.htm that drew national media attention. cannabiscoalition.ca/news/cccnews.htm. Other groups attending the meeting have been giving feedback on the MMAR since it was first drafted cannabiscoalition.ca/mmar/.
Delegates to the meeting are once again prepared to share their experience and expertise with the OCMA in the hopes that their input will be used to make changes to the program that will meet the needs of Canada’s critically and chronically ill. However, due the Health Canada’s past record, they are concerned that being included in the last round may mean that their input will not be taken into consideration but rather their presences will be used to falsely rubber-stamp a predetermined outcome.
The representatives from the CCC, the BCCCS, MedUsers and the CSA will be available to the media immediately after the meeting to express their thoughts and impressions.
Philippe Lucas 250.884.9821
Brian Taylor 250. 442.5166
Marc-Boris St.Maurice 514.808.8682
Hilary Black 604-781-8907
Eric Nash 250.748.8614.