Dear Mr. Dixon, Mr. Silver, and Ms. White,
As the leaders of your respective parties, our organization of cannabis proponents would like to get your official position on the current ACMPR.
It is our contention that the current ACMPR is constitutionally invalid, as explained below (text taken from our ongoing petition to Review and Amend the ACMPR)
In the historic Supreme Court decision Allard vs Canada the previous Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) were struck down as unconstitutional on the grounds that the legislation did not provide reasonable access to patients.
As a result Health Canada enacted the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Health Canada believed that, by allowing patients to grow their own cannabis under the new ACMPR, they had fulfilled their obligation under the constitution. They continued to require patients to purchase supplies etc via online merchants licensed by Health Canada. Patients could also designate a 3rd party to cultivate the Cannabis for them, presumably for financial consideration.
At the time the bill took effect Health Canada admitted that the document was a work in progress and would need to be reviewed over time. They also made a point of stating that Cannabis was still an illegal narcotic and therefore significant controls were required.
The introduction of the Cannabis Act in 2018 served to open up the recreational Cannabis market, removing the classification of Cannabis as a narcotic.
While this was met with cheers of jubilation from recreational Cannabis consumers, Cannabis patients immediately began to suffer from the simple law of supply and demand as licensed producers began shifting production towards the recreational market.
Under the ACMPR, patients were able to apply for a license to produce their own cannabis. However, under the Cannabis Act, ANY Canadian (except Quebec residents due to Provincial legislation) could now grow up to 4 plants, whether indoors or outdoors was irrelevant.
For those medical patients whose daily prescription was low enough to allow them only 4 plants or less their prescription was now essentially worthless. They no longer needed Health Canada's permission to grow nor purchase Cannabis, in various forms and in far higher quantities than their prescriptions would have allowed, from recreational retailers.
For those patients requiring larger amounts of Cannabis they were still faced with the financial burden of the equipment and supplies required to successfully cultivate cannabis. That of course is if they had the space and possibly permission from their landlord, or lacking that permission the resources to pay someone to cultivate for them.
NO Provincial or Territorial Healthcare program will subsidize any Cannabis related products or supplies.
Depending on the geographic location of the patient, outdoor growers may also have to contend with climate conditions unsuitable for Cannabis cultivation. If these individuals lack the indoor growing space neccessary and cannot afford to purchase Cannabis or "designate" another grower they are effectively unable to acquire their prescribed medication.
Outdoor growers in Northern Canada must also choose auto-flowering Cannabis strains (typically of lower yield and potency) or they are unable to successfully flower their crop.
Compounding this issue is the unrealistic maximum number of plants all growers are permitted.
Under the ACMPR indoor growers are permitted twice as many plants as outdoor growers. Health Canada's reasoning being that outdoor grows produce higher yields per crop than indoor grows. Technically this is correct, however the AMCPR fails to recognize that outdoor growers are limited to a single crop per year whereas an indoor grower can successfully harvest 3 crops per year, easily eclipsing the total yield of the outdoor grower.
Another factor to consider is knowledge. Successfully cultivating a Cannabis crop from seed/clone to harvest and achieving a sufficient yield and potency requires considerable knowledge. Knowledge which is lacking in the majority of Cannabis patients. Health Canada made no attempt to implement any kind of "learning center", or other program, which may have alleviated this obstacle to reasonable patient access.
Therefore it is our contention that;
A) The Original ACMPR was constitutionally invalid from the time of its inception as it failed to provide reasonable access to patients that could not afford, or were otherwise unable, to purchase or cultivate cannabis without assistance.
B) That the introduction of the Cannabis Act should have immediately triggered a review of the ACMPR as Cannabis was no longer considered a narcotic, essentially becoming an over-the-counter medication. The narcotic classification of cannabis was the basis for many of the restrictive measures included in the ACMPR legislation.
We feel very strongly that this is as much a common sense issue as it is a patient rights issue. While we understand that Yukon political parties have no authority or jurisdiction over Health Canada policies nor Federal legislation, we believe that your position in regards to reviewing the ACMPR speaks not just to your feelings towards cannabis, but to your overall sensibility and judgment.
We thank you for taking the time to consider your position and responding with your answers in a timely fashion so we may inform our Yukon members prior to the election.
Friends of Cannabis
Mr. Dixon was the first to reply to our inquiry. While he didn't address our questions specifically, he did recognize the need to reform both the medical and recreational marketplaces.
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