SASKATOON – Some say a huge step forward has been made for medical marijuana users in Canada. On Feb. 24, a Federal Court judge ruled that licensed users may now grow their own plants.
“The Allard decision allows people who are authorized by physicians to consume medical marijuana to grow it themselves. What this does is it undercuts the power of these 26 licensed producers,” says Lucas Richert, a University of Saskatchewan history of medicine professor.
Prior to the ruling, medical users were require to buy from licensed producers who are regulated and standardized by Health Canada.
“You have standard operating procedures and good manufacturing practices that govern the quality and purity of the medical marijuana that patients receive,” says Richert.
Brent Zettl, president and CEO of Prairie Plant Systems and CanniMed, a local legal producer outside of Saskatoon, says he’s “agnostic” toward the decision, but believes the ruling provides equality for fiscal and physical access to medical cannabis.
“It makes sure that all members of society have fair and reasonable access to medical cannabis,” says Zettl.
One of his main concerns is that the ruling could lead to a lot more diversion in the system.
“Our issue hasn’t been people growing their own, ours has been with the diversion that goes outside of that. People who are growing and then using it to sell, the excess to sell,” says Zettl.
While many users argue that they would prefer to grow their own pot for quality control, Zettl argues the opposite. He says that licensed producers provide the most chemical stability, especially for novice growers.
“For the masses they want to get something that’s normal. Where they have a normal amount of THC and CBD that they can dial in specifically,” says Zettl.
This ruling doesn’t apply for new patients requesting medical marijuana licences. Only users who have previously held a license before the ruling are given authorization to grow their own plants. All new patients will have to wait six months until the federal government decides on a new policy.
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