Canada’s Medical Marijuana Programme

25 08 2006

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The common consensus is that Canada’s med marijuana program has been inefficient. The government contract with Manitoba’s Prairie Plant Systems to supply medical marijuana has expired. So this might be a good time to overhaul the system.

The Canadian government has already spent more than $5.5-million on the program, under 200 Canadians are currently enrolled in the program.

According to official statistics from the Canadian AIDS Society only a meagre 1.7 per cent of Canadian medical marijuana patients use the government program, while 85 per cent of them obtain their marijuana on the black market.

“The proof is in the pudding – if the product is substandard, people will get it elsewhere,” says Marc Boris St-Maurice of the Montreal Compassion Centre. “When Health Canada provides a top-notch product, then you’ll find more people using it. Right now there are a lot of complaints about the quality, the concentration and the state in which [the pot] is delivered. A lot of that has to do with the restrictions and guidelines set by Health Canada, so it’s not all the fault of Prairie Plant Systems.”

St-Maurice expects the tendering process for a new medical marijuana contract will be open this September, at which point the Montreal Compassion Centre will submit a bid. “We have the knowledge and experience because we deal with patients on a daily basis. We can deliver a product for a good price and meet Heath Canada’s requirements, and at the same time better educate them to improve the program. We also think they should have more than one supplier so that monopoly isn’t an issue. Competition is good.”

If the Montreal Compassion Centre gets the contract, St-Maurice says they’ll grow the medical marijuana outside Montreal. “We’ll set up shop in small towns in Quebec where people need the work.”

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