Originally posted in The Calgary Herald by Bill Kaufmann
Striking down a ban on homegrown medical marijuana is a recognition of justice and reality, says a Calgarian who ingests the plant as medicine.
But a city council member said smouldering concerns over the number of both medicinal and criminal pot grow ops, and the safety concerns to go with them, could erupt due to Wednesday’s federal court ruling in favour of patients’ personal gardens.
Diane Colley-Urquhart said the former Harper government’s gross mishandling of the medical marijuana file and the latest ruling could supercharge those headaches.
“The consequences of this decision could be a lot more of these grow ops, and municipalities not knowing where they are and not meeting safety codes, so it’s a mess and our hands are tied,” she said.
“We’re going to have to be really, really aggressive in providing direction to the federal government (on) where they go with this.”
She said the city’s attempts to access a catalogue of medical marijuana growers from federal officials over the past two years has proven futile.
One man who consumes marijuana to help treat his multiple sclerosis symptoms said he shares some of Colley-Urquhart’s safety concerns, but added the ruling has a good side.
“The prices of licensed producers are way too high — if I could, I would grow it,” said Rod, 48, who didn’t want his last name used.
“If the government can’t guarantee affordability, how can they tell a person not to grow a plant?”
Rod said the price he pays government licensed growers can reach nearly $10 a gram, which is too lofty for low-income patients.
Jeff Mooij of 420 Clinic in Inglewood said the ruling by the Vancouver judge is largely irrelevant due to progress made in the medical marijuana industry in the past 18 months, however, it could be useful in further solidifying some of those improvements made in the areas of affordability and accessibility.
“This ruling is based on what was going on 18 months ago but the industry has grown a lot since then . . . the quality is great and the prices have come down on all the strains,” said Mooij, who doesn’t believe the ruling will open the floodgates of patient pot gardens.
“In six months, Health Canada will issue a report laying out these new realities.”
Wednesday’s decision is also notable for shoring up for the next six months a court injunction allowing patients to grow pot, said Mooij.
And he said the new Liberal government’s vow to legalize marijuana will render much of the current discussion moot, with a huge expansion of both recreational and medical use imminent.