Medical Marijuana

Cannabis IQ: Legalization leaves medical users stranded, and more – National


One unfortunate result of legalization: medical marijuana patients that are facing shortages, or the complete disappearance, of the medical product.

Tilray, a major producer which at one point this week ran out of medical cannabis, explains that medical buying ramped up before legalization, and then increased further when Tilray warned its customers there might be shortages.

I talked to John Campbell, at 72-year-old Tilray customer who uses cannabis oil to manage chronic pain. He can no longer buy the one that works for him because it’s sold out, and has been left scrambling for an alternative.

While Health Canada admitted it did not require licensed products to set aside a certain amount for medical users, the ministry said producers are “expected” to.

In the absence of a regulatory requirement to set aside pot for medical users, how can Ottawa help? By clearing the backlog of licence applications for companies that want to be producers, argues Ottawa lawyer Trina Fraser.

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“What they can do is help people get through this supply crunch by actually issuing some licences.”

Campbell, for his part, wants the major LPs to remember their roots:

“Legalization has opened the door for these companies, and they left the medical users in a place that was not anticipated or wanted,” Campbell says.

“They wouldn’t be in the business if it wasn’t for medical marijuana.”

“While there is no regulatory requirement for licensed producers to prioritize sales to individuals who require cannabis for medical purposes over non-medical sales, it is expected that they will do so.” a Health Canada spokesperson said.

MORE: For the launch of our weekly newsletter Cannabis IQ, we’re giving away $100 Visa gift cards. Click here to find out more.

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In brief:

  • It will take about two years for cannabis prices to settle down, an expert predicts.
  • Mail-order cannabis customers have been astonished by the quantities of packaging their pot has arrived in. One Nova Scotia woman calculated that she had been had been sent one gram of marijuana wrapped up in 38 grams of packaging.
  • Ontarians have arguably had the toughest time getting their hands on legal weed. The Ontario Cannabis Store — which had about 100,000 orders in the first 24 hours, 12,000 of them in the first hour — is dealing with piling complaints including long backlogs, mysteriously cancelled orders and an customer hotline that said it couldn’t accept calls “due to circumstances beyond our control.”  Adding to the misery: rotating Canada Post strikes.
  • Cannabis NB fell afoul of federal restrictions on pot marketing, and this week had to remove promotional images of people who appeared to be in some way enjoying their products.
  • Legalization goes to some strange places. Take a Calgary business called Weed Man, a lawn care company that’s receiving a deluge of phone calls from folks looking for bud.  “I’d be like, ‘It’s not that kind of weed, man,’” says VP Lori Heidt. “They’d be like, ‘Geez, that’d be a good name to have if you were.’
  • Quebec’s pot stores don’t have enough to sell to make it worth opening full-time, it turns out. They’ll be closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for now, the SQDC announced Friday.
  • South Korean citizens can’t smoke pot in their own country due to its fierce drug laws, which are so fierce that they’ve been forbidden to smoke pot in Canada, either.

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You asked:

  • Do the seeds I grow at home have to be registered?

Not as far as the federal government is concerned, no. (But if you’re in Quebec or Manitoba, you are still prohibited from growing your own.)

The more immediate problem is that under federal law your seeds have to be from a legal source, and just now there are very few.

To tell the truth, we haven’t found any at all — none of the provincial sites we looked at sell seeds yet. The OCS said at a news conference just before legalization that they were hoping to, but hadn’t been able to source them from licensed producers.

So if you started a home grow now, you might face awkward questions about where the seeds had come from.

Down the road, local governments may well want to set up a system of licencing home grows, so that’s something to keep an eye on.

Do you have questions about legalization? You can ask them here.

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