Mark Brandl for DRCNet
A group of Ontario activists have recently decided to tackle the problem of patient access to medical marijuana through the creation of cannabis buyers clubs (CBC's) throughout the province, and they haven't kept it a secret. A letter sent January 30th to federal authorities explains the intentions of the group to open CBC's and asked for a legal exemption from the law. The letter gives authorities until February 12th to respond at which point the group plans to start distributing marijuana to patients with a prescription regardless of permission from the government.
The group, consisting mainly of young hemp entrepreneurs, met in January in Toronto to organize around two central goals in the struggle for legal access to marijuana. The first goal is to give sick patients who have a doctor's prescription marijuana so they don't have to deal in the black market. The second goal is to make the creation of the CBC's such a public display of civil disobedience that Canadian officials will be forced to confront the issue. "We would prefer to do this legally, but failing that, civil disobedience will be the path to take," stated long time marijuana reform activist and law professor Alan Young in a January 30th interview with the Ottawa Citizen.
There is reason to believe this effort can be successful. An Ontario court recently decided Terry Parker, who suffers from epilepsy, has a constitutional right to grow and administer marijuana. Although the ruling is viewed as a specific exemption for Parker only, these activists hope the decision can be applied to others in need of medical marijuana.
This most recent action follows several major initiatives in Canada to allow chronically ill and dying patients access to medical marijuana. In December a team of doctors and lawyers were turned down in an application filed with Health Canada to allow Jean Charles Pariseau, who suffers from AIDS, access to a legally sanctioned supply of marijuana to smoke for his nausea. A CBC in Vancouver, the Cannabis Compassion Club, is now up and running as well.
According to Chris Clay, proprietor of Hemp Nation, web site, the future is a bright one for medical marijuana in Canada. "Whether change comes from the government or the courts, it seems Canada's medical marijuana users will finally have a legal supply sometime in the new year. In the meantime, underground buyers clubs will fill the need and keep the pot flowering."
(Hemp Nation has a very informative web site online at http://www.hempnation.com.)