In Canada, the possession of marijuana has been illegal since 1923. Today there are over 5,000 Canadians with permission from the federal government to smoke medical marijuana to relieve the pain brought on to them by their illness. The law does not allow people to consume marijuana in other forms, not considering and recognizing those who cannot smoke due to other illnesses like lung cancer.
Samuel Mellace, a 55-year-old pot grower from British Columbia lit a joint in the House of Commons on Oct. 4 to demonstrate an inconsistency he sees with the Medical Marijuana Access Regulation. Mellace and his wife are both authorized medical marijuana users, and their issue is with the regula- tion that forces them to “light up’ to relieve their pain. As he told CTV, his wife “can’t smoke her medication, because she has lung cancer.”
Mellace, through his actions, was trying to point out the problematic regulations currently enforced in the MMAR, namely that they are forced to smoke marijuana and are not allowed to use alternative methods of consumption. Furthermore, he wanted to suggest that it could take 10 months, or more, for a medical marijuana renewal to be processed 8212; and for people suffering from chronic pain, this is a long time. Mellace and his wife feel that they should not have to fear going to jail simply because they are applying a marijuana cream rather than smoking a joint.
It is clear that the laws set by Health Canada conflict with the MMAR in that they do not protect people who cannot smoke marijuana and must use alternative forms. This is an issue that needs to be solved 8212; and solved quickly. If we accept that medical marijuana is an effective pain-relieving medication, then we should allow people to consume the product however they want 8212; whether it is smoking a joint or eating a cookie. If we allow people to grow marijuana and distribute it legally to authorized users, then I see no difference in allowing the distributors to cook it, blend it, or process it in whichever way to ensure that people who cannot smoke are offered an alternative form of the substance.
Marijuana is seen as a “soft drug’ to some and a “hard drug’ to others. The debate over the legalization of it has been going on for far too long now. It has become stagnant, and the arguments for either side are now circular. The case here does not suggest to advocate for the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana for the general public. Rather, people who suffer from chronic pain and want to use medical marijuana to relieve their suffering must be able to do so as desired and needed.
The focus is on the well-being of those who are suffering from pain caused by illness, accidents or other causes. The current regulations and laws pertaining to these users’ rights should be reviewed and modified so that users and growers are legally permitted to consume and produce medical marijuana in any form.