Article by George Le Masurier, Times Colonist
The federal task on marijuana released a thorough report last week that proposes to end Canada’s 93-year prohibition on legal pot production and consumption. Its 80 recommendations touched on the important considerations and concerns for a well-regulated system, and appeared to borrow from the experience of several U.S. states that are several years ahead of us.
But the federal task force failed on one important point: the merger of the medical and recreational marijuana markets.
Former Liberal minister Anne McLellan’s task force devoted an entire chapter to the issue of medical access. It noted that the Canadian Medical Association and the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada do not believe that doctors should write prescriptions for access to marijuana. Their arguments are sound.
• There’s no conclusive research or evidence about how or if marijuana provides therapeutic benefits. Nor is there any conclusive data about the risks of using marijuana for medicinal purposes.
• Physicians don’t want to be responsible for prescribing marijuana in the absence of reliable evidence. We want doctors to know what they are prescribing and why.
• There are already other approved cannabinoid-based medicines on the market.
• Allowing the medical-marijuana market to continue as a separate system might delay or undermine funding for the clinical drug-development research necessary to determine the drug’s medical effects.