The appalling reality of the promise of legalization has come to haunt many of us. Since the new government took over in November, Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners Society have repeatedly inquired about the promise to legalize and how it affects medical users. Would the Canadian Liberals keep the MMPR despite Allard’s expected win against its restrictions on personal growing?

Finally, months later — just before the Allard decision — a response was received from Health Minister Jane Philpott: apparently they are going to stand firm and hold on to the MMPR. (Letter reproduced below.)

Conservatives Continued

Canadian patients have been awaiting a ruling on the Allard case since last year. Barely over one month before the second anniversary — April first — of the MMPR being introduced, after the MMAR was repealed, the decision has come down in favour of medical home growers.

To have the new Liberal government taking the same stance as the Conservatives on corporate cannabis — there are no words to express the disdain I feel. The medical marijuana community has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting to legally retain this right. But under the Liberals law-enforcement money is still being wasted on busting dispensaries from Saskatoon to Nanaimo, only to see them reopen and continue business as usual. What was the point?

The first thing the new government should have done was suspend all enforcement of small possession laws and, until all regulations and policy changes were done, allowed the existing businesses to run as is. This would have been a form of harm reduction whose lack shows to me that the government has no compassion or understanding about the actual benefits of cannabis.

Do taxpayers of Canada enjoy spending money vilifying harmless people that just want to have some quality of life, some actually dying from cancer who just want safe access to quality medication at an affordable price?

This letter I also interpret to mean that the Liberals have no intention of allowing personal grows even for recreational use. And it explains Licenced Producers stating they have no issue with personal grows, out of one side of their faces: they have known from the very beginning they were covered.

Advocating after Allard

I would implore everyone to please contact every MP of every party, attach this letter as reference, and tell them how you feel. I have heard from other activists over the last few months how activism is over, that we have won the fight, and that we just have to sit back and wait to see how the policy is formed. How can anyone sit back and watch as they over-regulate something we have been demanding freedom for?

I feel our fight is far from over.

Nevermind just the medical community — of which I’m part, holding an MMAR myself — I am all for adult consumption recreationally as well. If they are going to bring in the liquor store model I can get behind that; if we can make our own beer and wine, we should be able to grow a few plants. But the Health Minister still cites public health and safety risks (which are contradicted by the latest ruling) as reasons to keep the MMPR. How can they plan to incorporate personal gardening into the recreational scheme when they are still fearmongering about fire and mold?

We have to keep working, debunking every myth and lie they keep trying to tell. I know we have a new government with “sunny ways” and I supported them wholeheartedly, but now I am feeling less than warm and fuzzy. Right now I can’t see legalization being what anyone in our community expects or will be happy with.

So many groups gathering and working together, some non-profit some corporate — and my understanding is that even businesses in Canada, at the moment, are not legal and are sitting more within the black area than the grey — as police forces gleefully take away some of the only access people have.

Do you really feel that we have moved forward? At this time nothing has changed. “Consultations” and “investigations” are being put into place, and Licensed Producers are selling shares to big American celebs — “green rush” coming to a province near you! I see this as designer legalization for the upper-middle class and anyone that has actually done the fighting or actually needs cannabis for medicine is going to be left far behind.

National Task Force on Medicinal Cannabis

The ruling in the Allard win leaves the government thirty days to appeal or six months to fix the MMPR to allow patients to grow their own medicine. The Canadian Medical Cannabis Partners, Maritimers United for Medical Marijuana, and Medical Cannabis Patients Alliance have come together in one national task force to take on the government over the next six months to ensure the rights of medical cannabis users are heard.  

You can find out more about the task force at http://www.medcannataskforce.org/ or follow on Twitter  and Facebook. 

I fear we are going backwards, and now the fight really begins!