New Pot Ruling Not A Concern For Local Police

January 15, 2008

Craig Huckerby, SooNews (Canada)

Last week's decision to challenge the federal government and its controversial medical marijuana program means more growers of the weed will be allowed to administer the drug to approved patients meaning an end to the government's monopoly on pot.

Unless the government plans to appeal the ruling, more choice will be made available allowing for new opportunities for those who now grow pot to sell to registered patients.

Under the old regulations, licensed producers are only allowed to sell to one patient at a time.

That regulation violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms according to judge Barry Strayer.

Authorized users who cannot grow their own marijuana because they are too ill, or for other reasons, must then rely on a sole source provider - either a licensed private producer, if they can find one willing to produce only for them, or the government, which buys the plants from a Saskatchewan-based company.

The recent ruling means more licensed growers could supply the drug to as many patients as possible. Could the new ruling eventually lead to new businesses or grow operations sprouting up across the country?

That doesn't bother Sault Ste. Marie Police Chief, Bob Davies.

"It's not like we're going to see gro-ops everywhere because of the ruling" Davies said.

"The growers are still required to be licensed by the government and the users have to registered" Davies commented.

But is the new ruling just the first step to relaxing marijuana laws, many Canadians believe the laws need to be changed.

"I'm totally opposed to legalizing marijuana, that would create more problems down the road than it solves" Davies said commenting on the drug problems in Sault Ste. Marie.

"We know there's pot on the streets, just as there is other prescription and non-prescription drugs"

Davies said even though he knows pot is being sold on the streets, legalizing it would mean more policing just as with alcohol.

"Right now officers don't have the tools needed to indicate if someone is stoned on pot or other drugs - officers are trained for signs of impairment but it's hard to prove"

Davies is concerned that if pot is legalized it will mean more people driving while under the influence.

Local marijuana activists, Rob Waddell disagrees, "there is ample evidence to claim otherwise, like what about 2003 when Pot was legal, did we see major carnage on our highways then? No we did not. I can produce lots of studies that show that cannabis and driving is not a major concern, unlike alcohol or cell phones." Waddell said.

Waddell says there are no Marijuana laws in Canada, "there's going to be a huge debate on this soon, there have been some major victories won out in BC and in Saskatchewan, and the Maritimes.

The recent ruling, the latest in a string of court cases, will essentially mean more choice for approved medical marijuana users and should provide easier access for them to the drug.

Some doctors are now warming up to the idea that marijuana may not be as harmful as some might think.

A study for Health Canada says doctors support the use of cannabis when all other conventional treatments have failed. The study is based on the testimonials of 30 Canadian doctors. Recent studies indicate that the key ingredient in pot could actually kill cancer cells. More tests are currently being conducted.

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