News: Cannabis Users Confused
04 Oct 2006
CANNABIS USERS CONFUSED
The medical marijuana issue has become even more confusing as a conservative budget cut of $7.5 million meets mixed response from concerned parties across the country.
A prominent AIDS organization condemned the cut as “impeding” timely access to appropriate care for its members, while the Canadian Cannabis Coalition ( the largest organization of its kind in the world ) points to the private research being done and says the cuts are essentially a non-issue.
Brain ( Brian ) Taylor, local resident and founding member of the CCC, says the larger issue is a need for the federal government to restructure the funding that remains in a more productive manner.
“If the government looks closely at the medical marijuana issue, I think they’ll realize there are massive amounts of public money being spent toward a very few people who benefit,” he says. “The Compassion Club movement has never had access to federal funding anyway, and the leading research company right now is privately funded.
“The government could save an enormous amount of money now spent on licensing and security,” he adds. “I think they could licence regional medical marijuana producers, growing for multiple users, which would mean some variety and options for patients while allowing ( the government ) to demand higher levels of security than are now required.”
In fact, he says, the current system allows a single producer to grow enough for a single patient, which means expensive security measures are effectively impossible, leaving growers at risk of becoming the victims of crime.
“There have been a couple of court decisions pushing the government to change that, but I really can’t guess which way they’ll jump,” he says.
He says there are as many as 25 MS patients alone right here in Grand Forks, which doesn’t include the local AIDS patients, cancer sufferers or those living with epilepsy, back injury and neuropathic pain, all of whom would be allowed access to marijuana under the current licensing regulations.
“The cost is currently about $170 per ounce, which could be significantly reduced by larger scale production,” he explains. “The $7.5 million that was cut represented unallocated funds. It was earmarked for research, but they hadn’t directed it to a specific group or program yet, so it doesn’t really impede anything.”
Taylor also serves as the leader of the new Progressive Nationalist Party of B.C., which he describes as “conservative in general, but looking for greater national status for the province of B.C.”