Another View: Prescription pot pretense ending

Tom Fletcher is a columnist and legislative reporter for Black Press

B.C. Views

 

On April 1, medical marijuana growing licences expire across the country, and only licensed commercial growers will be able to legally fill a prescription for pot.

Ottawa is moving to clean up the mess it created by issuing medical licences all over the country. Since then, municipalities have complained that small-scale medical licences have been greatly exceeded, with many used as fronts for a criminal drug trade that has made B.C. infamous around the world.

How big is the problem? There are about 38,000 Canadians licensed to carry marijuana for medical purposes, and half of them live in B.C. Their permission to grow their own or buy it from designated small-scale growers is withdrawn in a couple of months.

Here’s a look at the community level. Police in the Fraser Valley suburb of Maple Ridge estimate that it alone has 500 properties licensed to grow pot. No, Maple Ridge is not a world hotspot for glaucoma or arthritis. It is historically known for its secluded properties and as a base for B.C.’s prison system and the province’s Hells Angels.

Police have only an estimate because Ottawa’s bungled medical pot scheme conceals the location of licensed growers from provincial and local governments.

RCMP Insp. Dave Fleugel told Maple Ridge council last week that his detachment will first target medical growers they know are linked to organized crime. But it’s difficult to determine which are legal and which are not.

“This has the potential to cripple the courts,” Fleugel said. “Something is going to have to take a back seat if we are going to go after all of them.”

The police and fire department have proposed an amnesty or grace period, allowing people to disclose their location and have it properly dismantled without penalty, to help deal with the volume.

This mess was created by Ottawa in response to a court ruling that forced them to make medical pot available. The Harper government remains trapped in a failed war-on-drugs mentality that prevents any innovation or even common sense.

Then there is the circus in Vancouver, where self-styled princes of pot exploit the confusion of the medical marijuana law to run an Amsterdam-style retail trade.

Cannabis Culture, the pot and propaganda empire built by Marc Emery before he was jailed in the U.S., rants about the government’s “war on patients,” amid garish ads for “pot by post” and exotic weed varieties.

“By Health Canada’s own estimate, the cost will increase from $5 per gram to $8.80 per gram – going up by nearly 400 per cent,” its website warns. Apparently smoking lots of weed really is bad for your math skills.

Dana Larsen, who spearheaded the ill-conceived and failed decriminalization petition last year, heads up the serious-looking “Medical Cannabis Dispensary.” It has done so well at its location in the drug bazaar of East Hastings Street that it’s got a branch office on Vancouver’s west side.

Its official-looking forms have a long list of conditions where only a confirmation of diagnosis is required. In addition to genuine conditions such as side effects of chemotherapy, it includes anxiety, psoriasis, spinal cord injury and even “substance addictions/withdrawal.”

And did you know you can get a vet’s note to buy medical pot for your pet?

Larsen has boasted about the exotic offerings of his stores, including “watermelon hash oil” at $150 for 2.5 grams. Wow man, that’s like 400 million per cent higher!

Fittingly, this farce goes back underground on April Fool’s Day. Medical users can only order shipments from an approved commercial producer.

 

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Twitter: @tomfletcherbc Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Peninsula Streams Society to restore 120 metres of Colquitz Watershed

With goal of contributing to the recovery of cutthroat and coho salmon

Indigenous peoples celebrated at Royal Roads

June 21 event includes host of activities as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read