Health Canada Cuts Funding for Medicinal Cannabis Research;
Compassion Societies Pick Up the Slack
June 19, 2003; This morning the Community Research Initiative of Toronto (CRIT) announced that Health Canada has unexpectedly stopped funding its investigation into the effect of cannabis on hunger and appetite in AIDS. The study, which has cost Health Canada $2 million dollars over the last three years, was one of just two medicinal cannabis studies funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research.
Health Minister McLellan has repeatedly stated that more research is needed before Health Canada can begin the compassionate distribution of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, yet Health Canada continues to stall and obstruct the only 2 research initiatives it has seen fit to approve.
On the February 9th of 2003, Ontario Court Justice Lederman declared that the Health Canada Medical Marijuana Access Regulations (MMAR) were unconstitutional and therefore invalid for only providing the “illusion of supply”. Judge Lederman gave Health Canada 6 months to rectify the situation, citing that by “forcing medically needy individuals to rely on black market marijuana…the MMAR actually foster the criminal conduct they are supposed to be working against…”. In a few weeks time that 6 months will be over, and Health Canada has done nothing to rectify this deplorable situation.
Canadians expect and deserve better from Health Canada. Canada’s compassion clubs and societies have the experience and expertise that is so obviously missing from the Office of Cannabis Medical Access; we are currently the only safe source of cannabis for Canadians suffering from critical or chronic conditions, and we are contributing more research than any other organization, including the federal government; all at no cost to the taxpayer. If Health Canada has a better model, Canadians have yet to see it.
Canadians for Safe Access (www.safeaccess.ca) is a grassroots, action-oriented medicinal cannabis patients rights group.