When I was asked to have a debate on medical cannabis dispensaries in Canada my first thought was—what is there to debate? The current medical cannabis system is ‘flawed by any standard’: not debatable.
No one wants to see a loved one suffer: not debatable.
People should have access to doctor-prescribed medicine: not debatable.
Vast majority of Canadians support access to medical cannabis: not debatable.
So what are we debating?
The legality of dispensaries? No—the hundreds of medical cannabis dispensaries openly and publically operating in our country (even those that have been operating for almost 20 years) are all 100 per cent illegal and therefore operating without any licence because none are available. The only legal way to obtain cannabis in Canada is through a flawed process using one of 16 Licensed Producers (LP’s). This system has many troubles but two big ones: they are only allowed to offer dried cannabis and only by mail.
Synthetic formulas have mixed results so people who can’t/don’t smoke turn to extracts: edibles, oils, salves, all of which are 100 per cent illegal. For example, take a legally obtained cannabis leaf and put it in hot water, and when you take the leaf out, that water is against the law in Canada.
The laws are forcing people to smoke/vaporize.
This madness is not debatable.
Over the years the tide of public opinion on medical cannabis has been turning as more and more of us who were brought up to believe “you must never break any law at any time for any reason” witness a loved one needlessly suffering.
This is why dispensaries exist. Yes, they should be regulated; no, they are not the perfect solution. But the current system is broken and instead of watching loved ones suffer, many caring people in our country have chosen to open a dispensary to provide a safe and secure source for information and medicine.
Enforcement of the law depends where in the country you live. Many areas in Canada use their discretion with dispensaries while others don’t—there is no consistency, hence the grey area and great frustration for police, doctors, politicians, patients and the greater community.
Going back to the “Enforce every law!” mantra. There are many laws on the books that are not enforced. If someone is desperately crying out for help across the street do you jaywalk (break the law) to help them? Of course, you would because while it might not be legal, it is the right thing to do.
People are suffering and the fact that our horrifically outdated laws are putting people in harm’s way to obtain doctor prescribed medication is simply madness —and again—that is not debatable.
Seniors are a huge demographic of dispensary users that visit shops all over the country with countless questions. Many grew up being told marijuana is pure evil. Now it comes up by their doctor or friends and where do they go? Online is not an option for most and phone calls don’t cut it. So they want a comfortable office with someone offering to help walk them through the many valid questions they have.
The law is broken and needs to be fixed—this is not debatable. So do we as a civilized, caring community force our loved ones to suffer while federal bureaucrats and politicians try to find the perfect solution to this problem?
Squamish and Canada is an amazing place that I am immensely proud to call home. It is filled with amazing caring people who go above and beyond to help those in need. If someone is crying for help, our community will go out of their way to help them—this is what makes Squamish and Canada one of the most amazing places on the planet. This is not debatable