Saskatchewan marijuana advocates react to potential legalization legislation

Click to play video 'Saskatoon marijuana activists weigh in on federal plans for legalization' Saskatoon marijuana activists weigh in on federal plans for legalization
WATCH ABOVE: The Liberal government seems to be moving on an election promise to legalize marijuana, but some local advocates for the drug believe the legislation won't go far enough – Mar 28, 2017

Staff at a Saskatoon cannabis resource centre hope the federal government will change medicinal marijuana regulations alongside its legislation to legalize recreational use.

On Monday, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott told reporters that the government plans to introduce marijuana legalization legislation this spring.

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Lauren Taylor, an information specialist at National Access Cannabis’ Saskatoon centre, said she hopes Ottawa also moves to make a larger variety of medical marijuana available to patients and set up a system where it’s easier to access the medicine.

“It’s so hard for medical patients to get it now,” Taylor said in an interview Tuesday.

“If they’re not changing the medical system at all, while making it widespread available to the public, then that’s doing a huge disservice to a ton of sick people.”

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The government should also allow patients to buy medical marijuana from multiple producers, according to Taylor.

She added that legalization could start to reduce the stigma around all marijuana use; however Taylor isn’t convinced that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau actually believes the drug has medical benefits.

“His biggest thing is let’s keep it out of the hands of the kids and let’s keep it out of the hands of criminals,” Taylor said.

“He’s never once saying, hey we need to give these sick people access to their medication.”

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Saskatoon marijuana advocate Jeffrey Lundstrom also has reservations about the federal Liberal’s stance on marijuana. He said in an ideal world Ottawa would “completely abolish the existing law that marijuana would make you a criminal in any way.”

“Then release every single person that’s been prosecuted for possession, cultivation,” Lundstrom, who owns the Skunk Funk Smokers Emporium in Saskatoon, said in an interview Tuesday.

“And then allow people like us that have for almost 20 years or 30 years, worked with these plants … be allowed to openly produce it and provide it in a fashion that we see fit.”