|Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.|
The City has now received a response, from Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, to the letter (about which I blogged on Wednesday) that Council sent to Ottawa earlier this summer asking for better regulation of medical marijuana. The good news is that Ms. Aglukkaq confirms that more stringent rules are, indeed, planned. The bad news is that they are still many months or even years away. Here are the pertinent paragraphs of her letter, dated Aug. 29, received by the city on Sept. 6, but only distributed to councillors yesterday:
"In June 2011, I announced our intention to reform the MMAP [Marihuana Medical Access Program] in resonse to the public health and safety concerns raised by numerous stakeholders... The Department is proposing improvements to the MMAP that will reduce the risk of abuse and keep children and communities safe, while significantly improving the way program participants access marihuana for medical purposes.
"....[A] key element of the proposed improvements is the establishment of a new supply and distribution system that uses only licensed producers. This would mean that the production of marihuana for medical purposes by individuals in homes would be phased out. The licensed producers would be the only legal source of dried marihuana for medical purposes. They would have to meet regulatory requirements related to elements such as quality control standards and security measures. This would reduce risks to public health, safety and security. It would also mean that municipalities would be fully informed of any licensed marihuana production within their jurisdiction....
"Health Canada is currently in the process of drafting new regulations, a process that can take from 18 to 24 months..."
Meantime, the NOW has published a story about my earlier response to the City's letter to the minister.
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