Article by Kashmala Fida, Metro Halifax
Dalhousie researchers are lending their voices to the debate on keeping the medical and recreational streams of marijuana separate.
The Task Force on Cannabis Legalisation and Regulation published recommendations in a framework for legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2016. It stated recreational marijuana be accessed separately from medical marijuana.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) came out against that recommendation in favour of a single stream instead.
The task force noted patients felt a separate system was necessary to avoid losing their current access rights to cannabis. Some patient concerns included:
“The loss of recognition that their use of cannabis is for medical purposes and occurs under the supervision of a physician; shortages of supply; barriers for young people; and the stigma associated with having to purchase cannabis for medical purposes from a non-medical retail outlet.”
Melanie Kelly, professor of pharmacology at Dalhousie University and Elizabeth Cairns, a PhD candidate studying pharmacology, co-authored a commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal agreeing with the task force recommendations.
“We just felt that as experienced researchers, we are very close to the data on what’s out there and we understand their apprehension but we thought we should put our opinion out there,” said Cairns.