"Canadians for Safe Access" Decry New Cannabis Reform Bill as Adding to the Harms of Prohibition
May 27, 2003: Canadians for Safe Access (CSA) is a newly formed grassroots, action-oriented medicinal cannabis group comprised of patients, suppliers and supporters working to change the unjust laws that prevent Canadians from accessing therapeutic
CSA has serious concerns regarding the Cannabis Reform Bill tabled today by the Justice Minister Cauchon, which if implemented, would adversely affect Canadians who benefit from using this medicinal herb.
The tabled Bill is not an improvement on the current system as it fails to reduce the real harms of cannabis prohibition: contact with the black market, the continued threat of arrest and incarceration, inflated prices, and now high fines. These harms are especially pronounced for medical users, whose needs are not being met by Health Canada’s failed medicinal cannabis program.
Canada’s Compassion clubs and societies, currently the nation’s only safe supply of medicinal cannabis, have been working effectively with compassionate growers to reduce harms. They feel such legislation could increase the cost of this medicine, a cost that ought to be covered by our health insurance as it is for other medicines, causing undue hardship on many sick Canadians.
As the recent robbery and assault of federal medical marijuana "exemptee" Marc Paquette and last year’s violent attack on the Toronto Compassion Center have shown, the continued prohibition of cannabis combined with Health Canada’s ineffective and unworkable medicinal cannabis regulations is victimizing our country’s sickest and most vulnerable citizens.
Canadians for Safe Access feels that it is time for the federal government to legalize this benign herb, as recommended unanimously by the Senate Committee. We hope that this Bill will not be passed, and that a new Bill will be drafted to allow for safe access to therapeutic cannabis for all those who could benefit from its use.