Medical Marijuana patients in Canada will soon be allowed to grow their own pot or designate someone to grow it for them. New rules announced by Health Canada take effect later this month, which is bringing up questions about access to the drug here in Prince George.
Having the freedom to grow medicinal marijuana may have it’s advantages, but one local physician is taking a more cautious approach. Barb Kane says patients who grow may have some uncertainty in what they’re taking. “They may not know what they’re actually taking whereas with the licensed companies now it’s clear what you’re taking and if you’re not using it right you can adjust it.”
On the other hand, an ability to grow one’s own marijuana for medicinal purposes can be a fast and reliable way to stop a patient from suffering says Ginny Brunett, Owner of Zaga’s Hemp Shop. “At least if they grow their own they know exactly what they’re getting,” Brunett said. “They know the cost of it, they’ll be able to keep their cost down, they won’t feel that they’re going to be arrested and taken to jail, it’s a totally different thing.”
Under the new rules, Health Canada will allow patients to grow a limited amount of pot. The amount they grow will be directly linked to the daily cannabis prescription someone is already prescribed. However, maybe the right to grow isn’t the problem.
Brunett says access to medical marijuana in the north is few and far between. “There’s virtually nothing here for anybody. You have to go through your doctor, then you have to find a government place or a registered dispensary, I don’t think there’s anything really up North,” she said. “People that are really ill and need it can’t travel, can’t afford to travel a lot of them, they don’t want to get something mailed to them, they don’t know what it is, they have no idea the strength of it, they’re not as trusting as people that can go in and buy it on their own.”
In an effort to provide better access, Neal Hagreen is applying for a dispensary in Prince George. “I would like to provide people that are suffering with a means to access medication that is more local than ordering out of Vancouver or another community.”
That being said, there are 34 approved Health Canada providers of medical cannabis which can ship products to Prince George in a couple of business days. Health Canada’s ruling for limited growing takes effect August 24th.